MARKET WATCH
Oil prices rise as US distillate stocks fall

Sam Fletcher
Senior Writer

HOUSTON, Nov. 9 -- Energy prices rose Nov. 8 in the New York market as US distillate stocks fell for the fifth straight week.

The US Energy Information Administration said commercial US crude inventories inched up by 400,000 bbl to 334.7 million bbl during the week ended Nov. 3. US gasoline stocks declined by 600,000 bbl to 204 million bbl during the same period. Distillate fuel inventories dropped 2.7 million bbl to 138.6 million bbl, with a slight increase in heating oil offset by a significant decline in conventional diesel fuel (OGJ Online, Nov. 8, 2006).

"These declines in inventories have come on the cusp of the high-demand winter season (bullish) and ahead of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' Nov. 1 cuts," said analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc. "Elsewhere, the Russian drive for more control of their energy assets continues. The latest round involves a criminal case against the head of a unit of BP PLC's Russian operations," they said.

Energy prices
The December contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes increased by 90¢ to $59.83/bbl Nov. 8 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The January contract gained 93¢ to $61.55/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate was up by 90¢ to $59.84/bbl. Unleaded gasoline for December delivery escalated by 3.95¢ to $1.56/gal. Heating oil for the same month gained 3.03¢ to $1.71/gal.

The December natural gas contract climbed by 6.8¢ to $7.82/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, natural gas at Henry Hub, La., jumped by 68¢ to $7.42/MMbtu.

In London, the December IPE contract for North Sea Brent gained $1.11/bbl. The November gas oil contract increased by $7 to $537.25/tonne.

The average price for OPEC's basket of 11 benchmark crudes lost 46¢ to $55.18/bbl Nov. 8.

Contact Sam Fletcher at samf@ogjonline.com.

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