MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil price climbs on mixed inventory report

Light, sweet crude oil futures rose on the New York market for a second consecutive day to approach $53.80/bbl on Jan. 5 as traders and analysts reacted to a mixed inventory report that showed US crude oil supply levels fell while fuel supply levels jumped.

The Energy Information Administration said US commercial crude oil inventories, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, declined 7.1 million bbl for the week ended Dec. 30, 2016, compared with the previous week.

The latest oil estimate was 479 million bbl, which EIA said was near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. The Weekly Petroleum Status Report said total motor gasoline inventories jumped 8.3 million bbl while distillate fuel inventories gained 10.1 million bbl.

EIA estimated US crude oil production was 8.77 million b/d for the week ended Dec. 30, up 4,000 b/d from the previous week. Lower 48 production held unchanged at 8.24 million b/d. Alaska production accounted for the entire US weekly increase of 4,000 b/d.

Regarding natural gas in underground storage across the Lower 48, EIA estimated levels at 3.31 tcf as of Dec. 30, a net decline of 49 bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 364 bcf less than for the same period last year and 21 bcf below the 5-year average of 3.33 tcf, the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report said.

Energy prices

The February crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 50¢ on Jan. 5 to close at $53.76/bbl. The March contract climbed 46¢ to $54.68/bbl.

The natural gas futures contract for February was up a fraction of a cent to remain at a rounded $3.27/MMbtu. But cash gas prices fell. The Henry Hub spot market for gas closed at $3.30/MMbtu, down 7¢.

Heating oil for February gained less than 1¢ to remain at a rounded $1.69/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for February declined nearly 1¢ to a rounded $1.64/gal.

The Brent crude contract for March on London’s ICE was up 43¢ to $56.89/bbl. The April contract also increased 39¢ to $57.48/bbl. Gas oil for January closed Jan. 5 at $488.25/tonne, down $2.25.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of benchmark crudes for Jan. 5 was unavailable because OPEC offices were closed.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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