MARKET WATCH: Oil prices split as NYMEX gains, Brent falls

The light, sweet crude price for June delivery rose modestly on the New York market May 4 to hold at nearly $43.80/bbl despite a growing US weekly crude oil inventory. Analyst attributed the price rise to concerns about tightening world supply because of threats to Canada’s and Libya’s oil exports.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated the crude oil supply grew by 2.8 million bbl during the week ended Apr. 29 compared with the previous week. The latest crude oil total was 543.4 million bbl while gasoline supply rose 500,000 bbl (OGJ Online, May 4, 2016).

Fires in Alberta forced oil sands producers to shut down or slow operations, prompting suggestions that export volumes will be reduced. JBC Energy analysts estimated some 500,000 b/d of capacity was shut because of fires (OGJ Online, May 4, 2016).

On international oil markets, tensions built regarding the future of Libya’s oil exports. New accounts indicated escalating disagreement between eastern and western factions over petroleum revenues. Authorities controlling the eastern half of Libya reportedly were moving to block oil exports.

Energy prices

The June crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 13¢ May 4 to settle at $43.78/bbl, and the July contract edged up 1¢ to $44.42/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for June gained 5¢ to $2.14/MMbtu. The Henry Hub price was $1.99/MMbtu, up 7¢.

Heating oil for June delivery fell 0.5¢ to remain at a rounded $1.33/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for June dropped 2¢ to a rounded $1.49/gal.

The Brent crude contract for July on London’s ICE was down 35¢ to $44.62/bbl. The August contract was down 31¢ to $45.06/bbl. The May gas oil contract was $394.25/tonne, up 25¢.

The price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of crudes was not available May 4.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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