MARKET WATCH: Oil futures price falls to $42.07/bbl

OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 10 -- Crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped to just above $42/bbl on Dec. 10 on the release of a short-term outlook by the US Energy Information Administration.

EIA said it expects global oil consumption will decline by 50,000 b/d in 2008 and by 450,000 b/d in 2009. Last month, EIA forecast global consumption would increase by 100,000 b/d in 2008 and remain flat in 2009.

EIA calculates current total world oil consumption at 85-86 million b/d. The agency also revised its oil price forecast downward to average $51/bbl in 2009. That compared with an EIA November oil price forecast of $63.50/bbl average for 2009.

US inventories
EIA also reported Dec. 10 that commercial US crude inventories increased by 400,000 bbl to 320.8 million bbl in the week ended Dec. 5. Gasoline inventories increased by 3.8 million bbl to 202.7 million bbl in the same period. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 5.6 million bbl to 130.6 million bbl. Propane and propylene inventories increased last week by 800,000 bbl to 61.1 million bbl.

Imports of crude into the US increased by 500,000 b/d the week ended Dec. 5 to reach 10 million b/d. Over the last 4 weeks, oil imports have averaged 10.1 million b/d, 109,000 b/d above the same 4-week period last year.

The input of crude into US refineries was up 387,000 b/d to 15 million b/d, with units operating at 87.4% of capacity. Gasoline production rose to 9 million b/d, while distillate production increased as well, averaging 4.7 million b/d.

Energy prices
The January contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes declined $1.64 to $42.07/bbl. The February contract dropped by $1.70 to $44.66/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was down $1.64 to $42.07/bbl.

Heating oil for January delivery dropped 5.35¢ to $1.44/gal on NYMEX. The January contract for reformulated blend stock for oxygenate blending (RBOB) lost 2.54¢ to 93.64¢/gal.

Natural gas for the same month rose 1.3¢ to $5.579/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., gained 3.5¢ to $5.70/MMbtu.

In London, the January IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude was down $1.89 to $41.53/bbl. The December gas oil contract was down $4.50 to $441.25/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of 13 reference crudes gained 65¢ on Dec. 9 to close at $38.19/bbl.

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