MARKET WATCH: Oil futures hover below $48/bbl pending inventory numbers

The price for light, sweet crude oil for September delivery rose modestly July 28 but still settled just below $48/bbl on the New York market as analysts awaited the US weekly government report on crude oil and product supplies.

Commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased by 4.2 million bbl for the week ended July 24 compared with the previous week.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated the July 24 total at 459.7 million bbl, the Petroleum Status Report showed.

Total motor gasoline inventories decreased 400,000 bbl last week, but are in the middle of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week.

Distillate fuel inventories increased 2.6 million bbl, which EIA called the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane-propylene inventories rose 1.8 million bbl, which EIA described as being well above the upper limit of the average range.

Total products supplied during the last 4-week period averaged 20.1 million b/d, up 3.8% from the same period last year. Motor gasoline product supplied during the last 4 weeks averaged more than 9.5 million b/d, up by 6.2% from the same period last year.

Distillate fuel product supplied averaged more than 3.7 million b/d during the last 4 weeks, down 3.6% from the same period last year.

Refinery inputs averaged about 16.8 million b/d during the week ended July 24, which was 108,000 b/d fewer less than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 95.1% of capacity.

Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.7 million b/d. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5.1 million b/d.

US crude oil imports averaged more than 7.5 million b/d, down 396,000 b/d from the previous week. During the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged more than 7.5 million b/d, 1% above the same 4-week period last year.

Total motor gasoline imports, including finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, averaged 613,000 b/d for the week ended July 24. Distillate fuel imports averaged 130,000 b/d.

Energy prices

The September crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 59¢ on July 28 to settle at $47.98/bbl. The October contract was up 56¢ to $48.41/bbl.

The natural gas contract for August was up 3¢ to a rounded $2.82/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was up 5¢ to $2.88/MMbtu.

Heating oil for August delivery rose by less than a penny to remain at a rounded $1.60/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for August fell by 1.7¢ to reach a rounded $1.80/gal.

The September ICE contract for Brent crude fell by 17¢ to $53.30/bbl on July 28. The October contract was down 7¢ to $53.86/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for August was up $5.25 to $495.50/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes for July 28 was $50.04/bbl, down $1.25.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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