MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil drops, ending 4-day rally

Crude oil prices dropped on the New York market Feb. 4 to settle below $50/bbl and to end a 4-day rally after a weekly government report showed oil and product supplies climbed more than analysts had expected.

The Energy Information Administration said US commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased by an estimated 6.3 million bbl as of Jan. 30 compared with the previous week. At 413.1 million bbl, US crude oil inventories remain at the highest level for this time of year in 80 years, EIA said in the weekly petroleum status report (OGJ Online, Feb. 4, 2015).

On Feb. 5, EIA estimated natural gas in underground storage across the Lower 48 at a rounded 2.43 tcf as of Jan. 30, which was a net decline of 115 bcf from the previous week.

Stocks were 468 bcf higher than at the same time last year and 29 bcf below the 5-year average of a rounded 2.46, the weekly gas storage report said.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange crude oil contract for March dropped $4.60 on Feb. 4, closing at $48.45/bbl. The April contract declined by $4.56 to $49.30/bbl.

The gas contract for March was down 9.2¢ to $2.66/MMbtu on NYMEX. The benchmark cash gas market rose, and the Henry Hub, La., gas price up 6¢ to $2.73/MMbtu on Feb. 4.

Heating oil for March dropped 7.9¢ to a rounded $1.77/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for March was down 12¢ to a rounded $1.48/gal.

The March ICE contract for Brent crude oil dropped $3.75 to settle at $54.16/bbl. Meanwhile, the April Brent contract was down $3.84 to $55.16/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for February declined $1 to $535.75/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Feb. 4 was $52.22/bbl, up 45¢ from the previous day.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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

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