MARKET WATCH: Energy prices slip lower in worried markets

Energy prices generally closed marginally lower Dec. 27 after recouping much of their morning losses on reports a special session of the US House of Representatives will be called Dec. 30 in a last-minute attempt to pass a fiscal budget and forestall automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that otherwise will take effect Jan. 1.

Traders nervous over the pending setback to US economic recovery virtually ignored a week-long winter storm that brought freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall through Midwest and Atlantic coastal states and was still dumping snow Dec. 28 in New England. More than 1,200 commercial flights were canceled Dec. 27 due to inclement weather.

Equity stock prices edged lower for the 5th consecutive day in early trading Dec. 28; if the market still in the red at the end of the day, it will be the longest losing streak in 3 months.

US inventories

In its weekly report delayed by the Christmas holiday, the Energy Information Administration said Dec. 28 commercial US crude inventories declined 600,000 bbl to 371.1 million bbl, short of Wall Street’s consensus for a 1.8 million bbl drop in the week ended Dec. 21. Gasoline inventories climbed 3.8 million bbl to 223.1 million bbl in the same period, surpassing analysts’ outlook for a 900,000 bbl increase. Finished gasoline inventories increased while stocks of blending components decreased. Distillate fuel inventories escalated 2.4 million bbl to 119.4 million bbl, counter to market expectations of a 900,000 bbl loss.

The American Petroleum Institute reported a drop of 1.2 million bbl to 370.5 million bbl of crude for the same week, with gasoline up 2.4 million bbl to 215.8 million bbl and distillates gaining 2.9 million bbl to 118.8 million bbl.

EIA said imports of crude into the US dropped 374,000 b/d to 8 million b/d last week. In the 4 weeks through Dec. 21, US oil imports averaged 8.3 million b/d, down 294,000 b/d from the comparable period in 2011. Gasoline imports last week averaged 602,000 b/d, and distillate fuel imports averaged 214,000 b/d.

The input of crude into US refineries was down 266,000 b/d to 15.3 million b/d last week with units operating at 90.3% of capacity, EIA reported. Gasoline production increased to 9.5 million b/d, and distillate fuel production rose to 4.9 million b/d.

EIA also reported the withdrawal of 72 bcf of natural gas from US underground storage last week. That left 3.652 tcf of working gas in storage, which is 81 bcf more than the comparable period a year ago and 413 bcf above the 5-year average.

Energy prices

The February contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes dipped 11¢ to $90.87/bbl Dec. 27 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The March contract declined 12¢ to $91.31/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., followed the front-month futures contract down 11¢ to $90.87/bbl.

Heating oil for January delivery gained 2.1¢ to $3.07/gal, however, on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month inched up 0.55¢ to $2.82/gal.

The January natural gas contract dropped 3.8¢ to $3.35/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., declined 2.2¢ to $3.33/MMbtu.

In London, the February IPE contract for North Sea Brent retreated 27¢ to $110.80/bbl. Gas oil for January lost $3.75 to $927.50/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes climbed $1.11 to $108.03/bbl.

Contact Sam Fletcher at

Related Articles

Obama urged by IPAA president to lift ban on US crude exports

07/07/2015 Commending the administration for its actions allowing some condensate to be exported as a petroleum product, Independent Petroleum Association of ...

AER shuts in 16 Murphy Oil sites in Peace River region for noncompliance

07/07/2015 Alberta Energy Regulator said it has shut in or partially shut in 16 sites operated by Murphy Oil Co. Ltd. in the Peace River region. The sites wer...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent oil prices take dive on world oil oversupply concerns

07/07/2015 US light, sweet crude oil prices plummeted more than $4/bbl on the New York market July 6, marking a 5-month low, while Brent crude oil prices on t...

WAFWA: Aerial survey finds lesser prairie chicken population grew

07/06/2015 A recent range-wide aerial survey found the lesser prairie chicken population rose 25% from 2014 to 2015, the Western Association of Fish & Wil...

Buru awarded onshore Canning licenses

07/06/2015 Buru Energy Ltd., Perth, and Mitsubish Corp. have been granted two production licenses for Ungani oil field in the onshore Canning basin of Western...

Cenovus sells royalty business for $3.3 billion

07/06/2015 Cenovus Energy Inc., Calgary, inked an agreement to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Heritage Royalty LP to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for gros...

CERI: Energy, operational efficiencies possible in Canadian oil, gas

07/06/2015 Measures can be taken by operators in the expanding resource-intensive Canadian oil and gas sector to improve both energy efficiency and operationa...

AGL Energy to scale back upstream gas operations


Gas retailer AGL Energy Ltd., Sydney, says it will exit the oil business and massively scaling back its upstream gas operations.

Macondo settlement seen ‘positive’ for BP

07/06/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s recent agreement to settle federal and state claims related to the 2010 Macondo blowout and spill improves t...
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