MARKET WATCH: Crude oil benchmarks continue upward momentum

US and Brent oil prices rose for a fifth consecutive day June 28, which analysts attributed to a weekly US oil and product inventory report showing an increase in the amount of crude oil in storage despite the gain being less than what some had expected.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery closed on the New York market at nearly $44.75/bbl, marking its highest close since June 16. Brent settled slightly above $47.30/bbl.

Although weekly storage levels edged higher, the addition was less than the 800,000-bbl increase that the American Petroleum Institute estimated (OGJ Online, June 28, 2017).

Separately, the US Energy Information Administration said commercial crude oil inventories, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased 100,000 bbl to 509.2 million bbl for the week ended June 23 (OGJ Online, June 28, 2017).

US crude inventories are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year, EIA said.

A survey of 10 analysts and traders showed they expected EIA would report a decline of 2.4 million bbl, the Wall Street Journal reported. Tropical System Cindy forced producers to temporary shut in about 17% of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and less than 1% of natural gas production (OGJ Online, June 22, 2017).

EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed that US production fell for the week ended June 23 as some analysts had expected.

The latest US oil production total was 9.25 million b/d, down 100,000 b/d from the previous week. Alaska’s production fell 45,000 b/d to 440,000 b/d while production across the Lower 48 fell 55,000 b/d to 8.81 million b/d.

Energy prices

The August light, sweet crude contract on NYMEX gained 50¢ on June 28 to settle at $44.74/bbl. The September contract was up 50¢ to close at $44.99/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas price for July gained 3¢ to a rounded $3.07/MMbtu. The Henry Hub cash gas price also gained 3¢ to $3.01/MMbtu.

Heating oil futures for July added 2¢ to a rounded $1.43/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for July also gained 2¢ to $1.48/gal.

The Brent crude contract for August on London’s ICE increased 66¢ to $47.31/bbl while the September contract climbed 62¢ to $47.54/bbl. The July gas oil contract gained $4.25 to $427.50/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of crudes on June 28 was $44.48/bbl, up 25¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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