MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices continue slide, but gas jumps

Crude oil prices dropped again on the New York and London markets Nov. 5 as analysts and investors awaited US jobs data as well as the weekly rig count, an indicator of oil and gas activity. Meanwhile, US natural gas futures prices jumped.

Gas futures on the New York market climbed more than 10¢ on Nov. 5 to settle at $2.36/MMBtu following a weekly government storage report that showed a supply build, but the gain was less than what analysts had expected.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated gas in underground storage across the Lower 48 at 3.929 tcf as of Oct. 30, which was a net increase of 52 bcf from the previous week. Platts said a consensus estimate showed analysts had expected a gain of 55-59 bcf.

Stocks were 371 bcf higher than last year at this time, and 147 bcf above the 5-year average of 3.782 tcf, EIA said in the weekly Gas Storage Report.

Meanwhile, October was the strongest month this year for US employers adding workers, and the unemployment rate fell to 5%. On Nov. 6, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 271,000 jobs.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said it’s possible the Fed might decide at its Dec. 15-16 policy meeting to raise interest rates if statistics support expectations for continued US economic growth.

Investors on Nov. 6 also awaited release of the weekly rig count from Baker Hughes Inc., which analysts expected would show another decrease in the number of rigs drilling for oil.

Energy prices

The December crude oil contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1.12 on Nov. 5 to $45.20/bbl. The January crude oil contract was down 97¢ to $46.24/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for December climbed 10¢ to a rounded $2.36/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price climbed 7¢ to $2.09/MMbtu.

Heating oil for December delivery declined 1.6¢ to a rounded $1.49/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for December was down 3¢ to a rounded $1.36/gal.

The December ICE contract for Brent crude was down 60¢ to $47.98/bbl. The January contract dipped 59¢ to $48.77/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for November closed at $451.25/tonne, down $5.25.

The average price for the OPEC basket of 12 benchmark crudes for Nov. 5 was $43.28/bbl, down $1.15.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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

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