MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil price held steady pending inventory report

Oil prices dropped less than $1/bbl on the New York market Sept. 22 as traders and analysts awaited the weekly US oil and product inventory report, which showed an overall decrease.

The Energy Information Administration said US commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased 1.9 million bbl for the week ended Sept. 18 from the previous week. The latest estimate was 454 million bbl, the Petroleum Status Report said.

Total motor gasoline inventories increased 1.4 million bbl last week, which EIA said was in the upper half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories stayed the same while blending components inventories increased.

Distillate fuel inventories decreased 2.1 million bbl last week but are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane-propylene inventories fell 600,000 bbl, and EIA said that level remained well above the upper limit of the average range.

US crude oil refinery inputs averaged 16.2 million b/d for the week ended Sept. 18, which was 310,000 b/d less than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 90.9% of capacity last week.

Gasoline production increased last week, averaging more than 9.5 million b/d. Distillate fuel production increased slightly last week, averaging 5.1 million b/d.

US crude oil imports averaged 7.2 million b/d, down 13,000 b/d from the previous week. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged more than 7.4 million b/d, 2% below the same 4-week period last year.

Total motor gasoline imports, including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, last week averaged 504,000 b/d, and distillate fuel imports averaged 164,000 b/d.

Energy prices

The October crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 85¢ to $45.83/bbl on Sept. 22 while the November crude oil contract was down 60¢ to $46.36/bbl.

The natural gas contract for October edged up less than a penny to remain at a rounded $2.57/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price also held steady at $2.59/MMbtu.

Heating oil for October delivery climbed 1.8¢ to a rounded $1.53/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for October was up a rounded 1.3¢ to a rounded $1.42/gal.

The November ICE contract for Brent crude increased 16¢ to $49.08/bbl, and the December contract rose 18¢ to $49.87/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract was unavailable.

The average price for the OPEC basket of 12 benchmark crudes rose 3¢ to $43.84/bbl on Sept. 23.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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

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