MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil prices reach 2015 highs on Yemen strife

Crude oil futures found support on both New York and London markets in Apr. 23 trading on news of more airstrikes against rebels in Yemen by Saudi Arabia, renewing concerns about a possible disruption in Middle Eastern oil shipments.

The airstrikes came the same week that the Saudi Arabia government said it was turning to diplomatic negotiations rather than military operations in Yemen. Saudi officials had noted they could resume military action in efforts to fight what they call terrorism (OGJ Online, Apr. 22, 2015).

The US light, sweet crude contract for June settled at $57.74/bbl, up $1.58, which was its highest level since December. The July contract settled up $1.69 to $59.26.bbl.

The June ICE contract for Brent settled at $64.85/bbl, up $2.12, which marked Brent’s highest front-month settlement for 2015. The July contract was up $2.03 to $65.51/bbl.

Societe Generale increased its Brent forecast for the second quarter to $58/bbl, up $6.67, and its 2015 Brent forecast to $59.54/bbl, up $4.33.

The bank also raised its New York Mercantile Exchange crude oil forecast for the second quarter to $51.83/bbl, up $6.83, and its 2015 NYMEX forecast to $53.62/bbl, up $4.28.

In other Apr. 23 trading, the NYMEX natural gas contract for May fell 7.5¢ to a rounded $2.53/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price decreased 5¢ to $2.55/MMbtu.

Heating oil for May delivery gained 5.3¢ to a rounded $1.92/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for May was up 7¢ to a rounded $1.99/gal.

The ICE gas oil contract for May rose $14.75 to $585.75/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $59.14/bbl on Apr. 23, up $1.05.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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

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