Market watch: NYMEX oil, natural gas prices slide on reports of Iraqi uprising

Paula Dittrick
Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Mar. 26 -- Crude oil futures slid on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday afternoon as news broke about an uprising against Iraq President Saddam Hussein in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Iraq's information minister denied the uprising report, but a British military official told Reuters news service that early signs suggested an uprising was under way. "We will be very keen to capitalize on it," the official told Reuters.

Analysts said the uprising renewed their previous hopes for a relatively short war in Iraq, and they noted that oil prices could have fallen more drastically had it not been for concerns regarding the civil strife in Nigeria's Niger Delta region.

The shutting of reportedly nearly 40% of Nigeria's oil output stemming from a military-tribal clash supported oil prices. Analysts are concerned about the impact on crude supplies from both Nigeria and Iraq.

United Nations officials said Tuesday that Iraq's official oil exports for the week ended Mar. 21 dropped to 443,000 b/d from 1.8 million bbl for the previous week.

Meanwhile, US Sec. of Energy Spencer Abraham has said world oil production remains steady. Energy Information Administration data showed production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries as of Mar. 20 was 26.5 million b/d, only slightly lower than the November 2002 figure of 26.9 million b/d.

"We appreciate the continued commitment by oil-producing countries to ensure stability in the world oil markets," Abraham said.

PDVSA Paraguana refining complex
Venezuelan oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA Monday reported an explosion in the Paraguana refining complex during an attempted restart of the Cardon refinery's delayed coking unit.

The Caracas-based Petroleumworld reported that PDVSA was trying to restart Cardon refinery's 100,000 b/d delayed coker and other units that were shut down during the nation's general strike against President Hugo Chávez.

Venezuela was the world's fifth largest oil exporter before the strike, and Paraguana has been an important source of gasoline imports for the US. A PDVSA spokesman told Reuters that the 100,000 b/d cracker at the Amuay refinery in the Paraguana refining complex was functioning again as of Mar. 12. The cracker is Amuay's biggest gasoline-producing unit.

Market prices
The May contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes fell by 69¢ to $27.97/bbl Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The June contract was down $1.08 to $26.46/bbl.

Refined products also closed lower. Heating oil for April delivery plunged 4.88¢ to 73.49¢/gal. Unleaded gasoline for the same month dropped 1.30¢ to 88.49¢/gal.

The April natural gas contract lost 17.6¢ to $5.077/Mcf Tuesday on NYMEX. In Tuesday afternoon trading, the market followed crude oil futures on news of the Iraqi uprising.

"Natural gas futures broke below the $5.08 technical support level, which could send prices down into the mid-$4 range. However, if the market levels off at about $4.92, it could turn around and bounce right back," said analysts at Enerfax Daily.

The April contract expires Thursday. Meanwhile, most of the nation is experiencing mild weather, which traders said should limit the cash market upside for the near term.

The May contract for North Sea Brent oil lost $1.28 to $24.81/bbl Tuesday on the International Petroleum Exchange in London. The day's high was 26.92/bbl and the low was $24.60/bbl. The April natural gas contract gained 2¢ to the equivalent of $2.75/Mcf Friday on IPE.

The average price for OPEC's basket of seven benchmark rose by $1.14 to $26.84/bbl Tuesday.

Contact Paula Dittrick at Paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

Statoil reduces capital budget by $2 billion following 4Q losses

02/06/2015 Statoil ASA has reduced its organic capital expenditure to $18 billion in 2015 from $20 billion in 2014. The move comes on the heels of a fourth qu...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil price bounces back up somewhat

02/06/2015 Crude oil prices on the New York market bounced up $2/bbl to settle slightly above $50/bbl Feb. 5. The positive momentum continued during early Jan...

Oil-price collapse may aggravate producing nations’ other problems

02/05/2015 The recent global crude-oil price plunge could be aggravating underlying problems in Mexico, Colombia, and other Western Hemisphere producing natio...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil drops, ending 4-day rally

02/05/2015 Crude oil prices dropped on the New York market Feb. 4 to settle below $50/bbl and to end a 4-day rally after a weekly government report showed oil...

Alberta’s premier seeks more North American energy integration

02/05/2015 Better policy integration and cooperation will be needed for Canada, Mexico, and the US to fully realize the North American energy renaissance’s po...

Deloitte studies oil supply growth for 2015-16

02/04/2015 A Deloitte MarketPoint analysis suggested large-field projects, each producing more than 25,000 b/d, could bring on 1.835 million b/d in oil supply...

Oil, gas infrastructure investments essential, House panel told

02/04/2015 Investments in oil and gas transportation and storage should move ahead because they are essential in continuing the US economic recovery and North...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices reach 2015 high

02/04/2015 Crude oil prices surged more than $3/bbl on the New York market Feb. 3, closing at the highest level so far this year, but some analysts believe th...

BG’s 2015 budget ‘significantly lower than 2014’

02/03/2015 BG Group plans capital expenditures on a cash basis of $6-7 billion in 2015, a range it says is “significantly lower than 2014” due to “a lower oil...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015

Fri, Jan 30, 2015

The  Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015 Webcast will address Oil & Gas Journal’s outlooks for the oil market and pipeline construction in a year of turbulence. Based on two annual special reports, the webcast will be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and OGJ Managing Editor-Technology Chris Smith.
The Forecast & Review portion of the webcast will identify forces underlying the collapse in crude oil prices and assess prospects for changes essential to recovery—all in the context of geopolitical pressures buffeting the market.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected