MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil prices rise but hold under $50/bbl

The light, sweet crude oil contract for September delivery rose modestly on the New York market Aug. 4 to settle at under $46/bbl while Brent crude prices saw a moderate gain on the London market but still settled at just under $50/bbl.

The rise in US crude oil futures prices was attributed to an expectation that the weekly inventory report from the US Energy Information Administration would show a drop in oil supply levels, which was confirmed although the weekly decline was much bigger than analysts had anticipated.

On Aug. 5, EIA reported US commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased 4.4 million bbl for the week ended July 31 compared with the previous week. The latest estimated total was 455.3 million bbl.

Previously, analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expected the EIA report to show a decline of 1.5 million bbl in crude supplies for the week ended July 31.

On the international market, Bloomberg estimated Saudi Arabia production rose by 70,000 b/d during July compared with June. Bloomberg estimated Saudi Arabia produced 10.57 million b/d during July.

Citigroup analysts suggested Saudi Arabia could produce 11 million b/d during the second half of the year if it keeps up the pace.


Total motor gasoline inventories increased 800,000 bbl for the week ended July 31, which EIA said was the middle of the average range for this time of year. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week.

Distillate fuel inventories increased by 700,000 bbl last week, which EIA called the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane-propylene inventories rose 900,000 bbl and are well above the upper limit of the average range.

US refinery inputs averaged 17.1 million b/d during the week ended July 31, and EIA said that level was 313,000 b/d higher than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 96.1% of operable capacity last week.

Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 10 million b/d. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging more than 5 million b/d.

US crude oil imports averaged 7.2 million b/d last week, down 365,000 b/d from the previous week. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged 7.5 million b/d, which was 0.4% below the same 4-week period last year.

Total motor gasoline imports, including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, last week averaged 822,000 b/d. Distillate fuel imports averaged 149,000 b/d last week.

Energy prices

The September crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 57¢ on Aug. 4 to settle at $45.74/bbl. The October contract was up 57¢ to $46.13/bbl.

The natural gas contract for September was up 6¢ to a rounded $2.81/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was unavailable for Aug. 4.

Heating oil for September delivery climbed nearly 2¢ to a rounded $1.55/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for September rose by 1¢ to a rounded $1.68/gal.

The September ICE contract for Brent crude gained 47¢ to $49.99/bbl on Aug. 4. The October contract was up 44¢ to $50.63/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for August was down $1 to $473.25/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes for Aug. 4 was $47.90/bbl, down 50¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now


Logistics Risk Management in the Transformer Industry

Transformers often are shipped thousands of miles, involving multiple handoffs,and more than a do...

Secrets of Barco UniSee Mount Revealed

Last year Barco introduced UniSee, a revolutionary large-scale visualization platform designed to...

The Time is Right for Optimum Reliability: Capital-Intensive Industries and Asset Performance Management

Imagine a plant that is no longer at risk of a random shutdown. Imagine not worrying about losing...

Going Digital: The New Normal in Oil & Gas

In this whitepaper you will learn how Keystone Engineering, ONGC, and Saipem are using software t...