MARKET WATCH: NYMEX natural gas prices keep climbing

Crude oil prices climbed more than $1/bbl on the New York market for a second consecutive day on Apr. 30 to set fresh highs for 2015 although prices retreated in early trading on May 1 awaiting the weekly rig count numbers from Baker Hughes Inc. while natural gas prices continued their upward momentum.

The New York Mercantile Exchange June crude oil contract rose $1.05 on Apr. 30 to $59.63/bbl, which was the highest front-month price for oil since Dec. 11, 2014. The July contract climbed 85¢ to $60.71/bbl.

The US natural gas futures contract reached its largest single-day gain since January after a weekly government report showed gas levels in underground storage across the Lower 48 rose less than analysts had expected (OGJ Online, Apr. 30, 2015).

The natural gas contract for June rose 14.5¢ to close Apr. 30 at $2.75/MMbtu, marking its highest settlement since Mar. 24. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was $2.57/MMbtu, up 1¢.

In addition, MDA Weather Services has forecast warmer-than-normal temperatures across the US for the first 2 weeks of May. Warmer temperatures mean more cooling demand, increasing demand for gas-fired electricity.

Heating oil for May was up nearly 3¢ to a rounded $1.98/gal on Apr. 30. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for May climbed 3¢ to a rounded $2.05/gal.

The June ICE contract for Brent crude rose 94¢ to $66.78/bbl, while the July contract climbed 91¢ to $67.45/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for May gained $5.50 to $599.25/tonne.

The average price for the OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes for Apr. 30 was unavailable because OPEC’s office was closed on May 1.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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

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