MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil price drops, natural gas dives

Light, sweet crude oil prices for December delivery fell to settle below $44/bbl on the New York market while natural gas futures dipped to their lowest level since April 2012 following US forecasts for warm fall weather across much of the country.

Above-average temperatures mean less demand for heating homes and businesses. Analysts noted that gas inventories already are near record levels.

“The market is now in absolute free fall,” said Stephen Schork, editor of the Schork Report newsletter on energy commodities. “There’s no real strong forecast for any weather-[related] demand in the near future.”

Separately, Platts released its Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings during a dinner of energy executives in Singapore (OGJ Online, Oct. 27, 2015).

Platts’ own analysis of the rankings said uncertainty over oil and gas prices continues and contributed significantly to what it called “a game-changer year” regarding financial performance for many Western majors and state-owned international oil companies.

“Regionally, we’re back to more familiar territory,” the analysis said. “The North American shale oil and gas boom continues to upend the energy rankings when it comes to regional players.”

Robert Perkins, Platts senior EMEA Oil News editor, said, “Simply put, the rising tide of North American unconventionals has grown at the expense of energy rivals” outside the US and Canada.

Energy prices

The December crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 62¢ on Oct. 26 to $43.98/bbl. The January crude oil contract declined 57¢ to $44.90/bbl.

The natural gas contract for November dropped 22¢ to a rounded $2.06/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was $2.14/MMbtu, down 13¢.

Heating oil for November delivery decreased nearly 3¢ to a rounded $1.43/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for November dropped 1.6¢ to a rounded $1.29/gal.

The December ICE contract for Brent crude was down 45¢ to $47.54/bbl. The January contract decreased 42¢ to $48.25/bbl. ICE gas oil for November settled at $437.70/tonne, down $2.55.

The average price for the OPEC basket of 12 benchmark crudes for Oct. 26 was $43.13/bbl, down 32¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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

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