MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil falls, but gains for week

The price of light, sweet crude oil for June delivery dropped below $48/bbl May 20 but still managed a second consecutive weekly gain on the New York market as the contract for June crude expired with the May 20 settlement.

US crude futures and Brent crude futures on the London market reached 2016 highs on May 17, reaching the highest settlement prices since October 2015.

On May 17, the New York Mercantile Exchange crude contract for June delivery settled at $48.31/bbl while the Brent crude oil contract for July closed at $49.28/bbl (OGJ Online, May 18, 2016). The weekly highest came as wildfires flared up again in Alberta, forcing another evacuation of oil sands workers just as they returned to the Fort McMurray production areas.

On May 20, Alberta officials lifted a mandatory evacuation order at two oil sands production complexes and five nearby work camps, saying firefighters had made progress in fighting the wildfires.

Suncor Energy Inc., and its Syncrude subsidiary, can reopen production complexes that have been shut down for more than 2 weeks.

Separately, the overall US oil and gas drilling rig count recorded its smallest weekly decline of the year for the week ended May 20, dropping just 2 units—both targeting gas—to settle at 404 rigs working, the Baker Hughes Inc. rig count showed (OGJ Online, May 20, 2016).

However, it marked the 22nd consecutive week and 37th of the past 39 weeks in which the count has fallen. Since the overall drilling dive commenced following the week ended Dec. 5, 2014, the overall count has fallen 1,516 rigs.

Energy prices

The June crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined 41¢ on May 20 to settle at $47.75/bbl, and the July contract was down 26¢ to $48.41/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for June delivery rose 2¢ to a rounded $2.06/MMbtu. Cash gas prices fell slightly. The Henry Hub price was $1.81/MMbtu, down 1¢.

Heating oil for June delivery gained 1¢ to $1.49/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for June edged up less than a penny to a rounded $1.64/gal.

The Brent crude contract for July on London’s ICE fell 9¢ to $48.72/bbl. The August contract dropped 7¢ to $49.27/bbl. The June gas oil contract gained $11.75 to $440.75/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries basket of crudes price for May 20 was $44.77/bbl, up 97¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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