MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil price back under $46/bbl

Light, sweet crude prices for June delivery varied widely on the New York market during Apr. 29 trading, closing at $45.92/bbl after swinging from a daily high of $46.78 and a low of $45.24.

Reuters reported that it obtained statistics from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries suggesting the cartel’s April production was up 170,000 b/d from March. OPEC’s April production was estimated at 32.64 million b/d, Reuters said.

Separately, Commerzbank analysts noted that OPEC’s April output would have been higher without outages in Kuwait, UAE, Venezuela, and Nigeria. In January, OPEC reported cartel production at 32.65 million b/d.

Barclays analysts said Chinese oil demand grew by 180,000 b/d during the first quarter. Traders and analysts closely watch Chinese oil consumption as an indicator of global demand growth.

“A key area to watch is the Chinese car industry,” Barclays said. “We believe car sales should remain solid in 2016.”

The US drilling rig count declined 11 units to 420 rigs working for the week ended Apr. 29, said the Baker Hughes Inc. report.

The count has fallen in 19 straight weeks, and in 34 of the past 36 weeks (OGJ Online, Apr. 29, 2016).

Martin Craighead, BHI chairman and chief executive officer, expects the US rig count will begin to stabilize during the second half.

“Although we do not expect activity to meaningfully increase in 2016,” Craighead said while commenting on an earnings report. “Conversely, the international rig count is predicted to drop steadily through the end of the year as we see limited new projects in the pipeline.”

Energy prices

The June crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 11¢ to settle at $45.92/bbl on Apr. 29. The July contract dropped 18¢ to $46.69/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for June gained 10¢ to a rounded $2.18/MMbtu. The Henry Hub price was $1.91/MMbtu, up 2¢.

Heating oil for May delivery fell nearly 2.7¢ to a rounded $1.38/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for May dropped 1.3¢ to a rounded $1.58/gal.

The Brent crude contract for June on London’s ICE was down 1¢ to $48.13/bbl, and the June contract expired with the Apr. 29 closing. The July contract declined 40¢ to $47.37/bbl. The gas oil contract for May was $413/tonne, down $2.25.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 13 benchmark crudes on Apr. 29 was $42.70/bbl, up 68¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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