MARKET WATCH: Crude prices fall, wiping out gains

Sam Fletcher
Senior Writer

HOUSTON, July 30 -- Crude and petroleum product futures prices fell July 29, wiping out all gains from the previous session, after the Department of Transportation reported a 3.7% decline in the total number of miles traveled in the US by motorists during May vs. the same month in 2007 when mileage was down 1.8%.

Total US mileage driven in January-May was down 2.4%, compared with a 2.1% drop during the same period last year. Moreover, said analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc., "The dollar continues to strengthen, as oil (and other commodity) prices keep tumbling; in fact, the dollar hit a 1-month high yesterday." Oil prices were down in premarket trading July 30 in expectation of a build in petroleum inventories. "Natural gas continued to trade downward premarket," Raymond James analysts said. "We reiterate our stance that natural gas prices could continue to fall over the next few months as the year-over-year storage deficit shrinks."

At Pritchard Capital Partners LLC, New Orleans, analysts said, "Crude prices have fallen more than $25/bbl over the past 2 weeks as oil investors worried that high prices for fuel made from crude oil have seriously damaged demand. Average [retail] prices for regular gasoline in the US fell for the 13th straight day…but remained near $4/gal, more than 35% higher than they were a year ago."

US inventories
The Energy Information Administration reported July 30 that commercial US crude inventories slipped 100,000 bbl to 295.2 million bbl during the week ended July 25, far short of the expected 1.2 million bbl drop that was the consensus of Wall Street analysts. Gasoline stocks fell 3.5 million bbl to 213.6 million bbl in the same period vs. an expected increase of 100,000 bbl. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.4 million bbl to 130.5 million bbl, exceeding the consensus for a 1.9 million bbl build. Propane and propylene inventories increased by 500,000 bbl to 45.8 million bbl.

Imports of crude into the US increased by 199,000 b/d to 10 million b/d in the same week. Input of crude into US refineries gained 50,000 b/d to 15.2 million b/d with units operating at 87.2% of capacity. Gasoline production fell to 9 million b/d, but distillate fuel production increased to 4.7 million b/d.

Energy prices
The September contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes dropped $2.54 to $122.19/bbl July 29 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The October contract lost $2.55 to $122.74/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was down $2.55 to $122.19/bbl. Heating oil for August delivery fell 8.98¢ to $3.47/gal on NYMEX. The August contract for reformulated blend stock for oxygenate blending (RBOB) declined 6.23¢ to $3.01/gal.

The August natural gas contract continued to climb, up 5.4¢ to $9.22/MMbtu on NYMEX. Pritchard Capital analysts said, "Despite revisiting sub-$9 prices for the third time over the last four sessions, expiring August natural gas futures tiptoed out the back door instead of making a grand exit." On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., lost 10¢ to $9.16/MMbtu.

In London, the September IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude dropped $3.13 to $122.71/bbl. Gas oil for August fell $23.75 to $1,138.50/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of 13 reference crudes was down $1.46 to $121.73/bbl July 29.

Contact Sam Fletcher at

Related Articles

Simonette gas plant upset led to Alliance mainline closure, Keyera says

08/07/2015 Complications resulting from an operational upset at Keyera Corp.’s Simonette gas plant, located 57 miles southwest of Valleyview, Alta., have caus...

Senate confirms Dominguez as PHMSA’s administrator

08/07/2015 The US Senate confirmed Marie Therese Dominguez’s appointment as administrator of the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration by unanimo...

EIA: US refinery inputs hit record high

08/07/2015 Gross inputs to US refineries exceeded 17 million b/d in each of the past 4 weeks, according to the US Energy Information Administration. That's a ...

Moody’s trims crude oil price assumptions

08/07/2015 Crude oil prices will be mostly unchanged in the second half of 2015 and rise slowly in 2016, Moody’s Investors Service said while trimming its exp...

BHI: Boosted by another gain in oil rigs, total US rig count rises 10 units

08/07/2015 The overall US drilling rig count gained 10 units during the week ended Aug. 7 to reach a total of 884 rigs working, according to data from Baker H...

Alliance Pipeline shuts down mainline system

08/07/2015 Alliance Pipeline LP of Calgary said it shut down its 1.6 bcfd mainline system in Western Canada late Aug. 6 because of a release of hydrogen sulfi...

Tax scheme, weak ruble help Russian majors

08/07/2015 Tax mechanisms and a weak ruble helped Russia’s major oil companies maintain and in some cases improve ruble-denominated profitability in the first...

Yankowsky named executive VP, COO of Magnum Hunter

08/07/2015 Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. has appointed Keith Yankowsky as executive vice-president and chief operating officer, effective Sept. 1. He wil...

Lukoil gets $1 billion in financing for Shah Deniz in Azerbaijan

08/07/2015 JSC Lukoil has signed an agreement with a consortium of banks to borrow $1 billion for the second stage of the Shah Deniz natural gas project offsh...
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

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
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


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