MARKET WATCH: Crude slips lower but holds at $80/bbl

Sam Fletcher
OGJ Senior Writer

HOUSTON, Mar. 29 -- The front-month crude futures contract fell for the fourth consecutive session Mar. 26 in the New York market but managed to hold at $80/bbl as the US Department of Commerce slightly reduced its earlier estimate of the fourth quarter 2009 gross domestic product to 5.6%. Natural gas continued its slide below $4/MMbtu.

However, analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc. reported crude was “bouncing off a 2-week low” in early trading Mar. 29, with prices up 1% as the euro sustained most of its earlier gains against the dollar after European leaders reached a plan to help finance Greece's mounting debt. On the other hand, they said crude appeared largely unaffected by a Mar. 29 report that showed consumer spending rose 0.3% in February while personal incomes were unchanged. Natural gas prices continued to decline after hitting a 6-month low Mar. 26. The April gas contract expires at the close of the Mar. 29 market session.

The Commerce Department’s latest report on consumer spending was down from a 0.4% increase in January and is the smallest increase since September, due in part to snow storms that buried the East Coast for days last month. It is the fifth consecutive month that consumer spending has increased. However, incomes were flat after a 0.3% gain in January. It was the weakest performance since July.

This will be a short trading week due to the Good Friday holiday on Apr. 2. However, Olivier Jakob at Petromatrix, Zug, Switzerland, noted it will be relatively rich in terms of macrodata from reports on personal income, consumer confidence, home prices, factory orders, employment, construction spending, car sales, and nonfarm payrolls.

Jakob said, “As we approach the end of the first quarter, we remain in a configuration where the Chinese exchanges are clearly lagging the relative strong advances made in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stock indices.”

Meanwhile, Raymond James’ recent yearend capital expenditure survey showed 46 public independent exploration and production companies supplying roughly a third of US gas and most of the supply growth one third of total US gas and most of the supply growth plan to spend on average 25% more this year than in 2009. That’s “still 23% down from 2008 levels, albeit in-line with 2007,” the analysts said.

“When you combine technological advancement, hedging profiles, lease terms, improved balance sheets, and higher crude prices, it is easy to understand why companies aren't hesitating to put more money in the ground,” said Raymond James analysts.

Energy prices
The May contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes dropped 53¢ to $80/bbl Mar. 26 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The June contract lost 52¢ to $80.47/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was down 3¢ to $80/bbl, the same as the front futures contract’s closing price. Heating oil for April delivery inched up 0.04¢ but the closing price was essentially unchanged at $2.07/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated blend stock for oxygenate blending for the same month declined 1.03¢ to $2.21/gal.

The April natural gas contract fell 10.9¢ to $3.87/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., was down 3.5¢ to $3.95/MMbtu.

In London, the May IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude lost 32¢ to $79.29/bbl. Gas oil for April dropped $4 to $660.25/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of 12 reference crudes declined 23¢ to $76.80/bbl. So far this year, the OPEC basket has averaged $75.35/bbl.

Contact Sam Fletcher at

Related Articles

Encana books impairment charge, maintains 2015 budget

07/27/2015 Encana Corp., Calgary, reported a $1.3 billion impairment charge for the second quarter, which executives said reflected a decline in oil and natur...

First bidding round showed Mexico reform challenges, House panel told

07/27/2015 An apparently disappointing first round of bids for oil and gas exploration rights revealed problems that require attention if Mexico’s dramatic en...

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures stay below $49/bbl after gain in US rig count

07/27/2015 Light, sweet crude oil futures prices fell modestly July 24 to remain under $49/bbl on the New York market after Baker Hughes Inc. reported the US ...

EPA proposes voluntary methane reduction program for gas industry

07/24/2015 The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed a voluntary methane reduction program for the natural gas industry that would allow companies to ma...

Petrobras workers stage 24-hr strike

07/24/2015 Workers at beleaguered Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) staged a 24-hr strike across Brazil to protest plans by the state-owned company to liquid...

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures hover below $49/bbl

07/24/2015 Light, sweet crude oil futures prices settled under $49/bbl July 23 on the New York market, which means US prices have slid more than 20% since the...

EQT reports high IP from Utica dry gas well

07/24/2015 EQT Corp., Pittsburgh, said a deep, dry gas Utica well averaged 72.9 MMcfd with an average flowing casing pressure of 8,641 psi during a 24-hr deli...

Separate Murkowski bill addresses crude exports, OCS revenue sharing

07/24/2015 US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) introduced legislation that would end the ban on US crude oil expor...

OGUK updates guidelines for well abandonments


Oil & Gas UK has released updated guidelines for abandonment of wells, including cost estimates.

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

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.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


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