MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices rise more than $1/bbl on inventory drop

The light, sweet oil contract for November rose by more than $1/bbl on the New York market to settle above $45/bbl Sept. 21 after the US crude inventory fell for a third consecutive week. Analysts attributed the latest inventory drop to increased refinery activity.

The US Energy Information Administration showed a larger-than-expected draw of 6.2 million bbl in oil supplies for the week ended Sept. 16 to a total of 504.6 million bbl (OGJ Online, Sept. 21, 2016).

The estimated crude inventory was the lowest since Feb. 12, but still 11% above its level for the same period a year ago. The refinery utilization rate for the week ended Sept. 16 was 92%, EIA said.

“Relatively strong refinery activity for this time of year has put downward pressure on crude stocks,” said Anthony Starkey, a manager of energy analysis with Platts Analytics, a unit of S&P Global Platts.

For the week ended Sept. 16, US oil production was 8.512 million b/d, up 19,000 b/d, the Petroleum Status Report said. Of that total, the Lower 48 accounted for 8.048 million b/d, which was up 13,000 b/d from the previous week, EIA said.

On world oil markets, an oil tanker reportedly left the Libyan port of Ras Lanouf for Italy on Sept. 21, marking the first crude export cargo from the terminal since late 2014. Libya’s National Oil Corp. has asked antigovernment military groups to unblock the Sharara and El Feel oil fields.

NOC issued a statement saying Libya’s oil production could return to 1.2 million b/d within a year if all the pipelines were allowed to operate without constraint and if the government authorized NOC’s requested budget.

“It is time to let Libya’s oil flow freely and get Libya back on its feet,” NOC said.

Energy prices

The November crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained $1.29 on Sept. 21 to close at $45.34/bbl. The December contract was up $1.20 to $45.90/bbl.

The natural gas contract for October increased 1¢ to a rounded $3.06/MMbtu. On the spot market, the Henry Hub gas price was up 6¢ to $3.14/MMbtu.

Heating oil for October gained 2¢ to a rounded $1.43/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending was up 3¢ to a rounded $1.39/gal.

The November Brent crude contract on London’s ICE climbed 95¢ to settle at $46.83/bbl and the December contract rose 93¢ to settle at $47.29/bbl. The October gas oil contract settled at $418.25/tonne, up $5.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Sept. 20 was $42.54/bbl, up 99¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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