MARKET WATCH: New York crude inches up to March high

The price of crude inched up marginally Mar. 11 with the front-month contract posting its highest closing since February on the New York market.

North Sea Brent didn’t fare as well, however, posting its second consecutive loss. “Yesterday’s closing prices left the Brent-West Texas Intermediate spread at $18.16/bbl, its lowest level since the end of January during the height of the Seaway Pipeline optimism,” said Marc Ground at Standard New York Securities Inc., the Standard Bank Group. Crude and natural gas were up in early trading Mar. 12, but petroleum products were mixed.

Ground reported, “US demand optimism continues to drive WTI, while global demand considerations as well as an uncertainty over possible changes to South Korean oil import-export taxes have weighed on Brent. The outlook for US demand is…particularly promising, much better than we had expected at the beginning of the year. However, we remain concerned about the effect that the past and future fiscal hurdles will have on the economy and ultimately oil demand. That said, it appears as if consumer and business confidence were largely unaffected by the debt ceiling stand-off that ended last year, and the economy has remained relatively robust after the related payroll tax hikes that heralded the start of this year. Therefore, the US economy might prove just as resilient in the face of the sequester [of US federal funds] and upcoming future fiscal hurdles.”

Broader markets were up Mar. 11 with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting its “seventh consecutive increase and fourth record high,” said analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc. They reported, “Fear has seemingly left the markets as the volatility index dropped to 11.56, the lowest level in 6 years. The lower volatility index and market rise occurred despite weaker Chinese economic data over the weekend, which showed both industrial production and retail sales growing slower than expected.”

In its monthly Oil Market Report, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said a rise in oil prices during February was “accompanied by a surge in managed money net-long positions, which were within sight of last year’s peak.” But toward the end of February, OPEC ministers said, “The optimistic mood began to erode due to concerns over the health of the global economy.”

OPEC’s estimate of world oil demand growth in 2012 “remains almost unchanged” at 800,000 b/d despite a downward revision of 100,000 b/d in the fourth quarter. Its demand grown outlook for this year remained steady, also at 800,000 b/d.

“The large portion of this growth is seen coming from China, followed by the Middle East, other [parts of] Asia, and Latin America,” OPEC officials said. In contrast, they expect demand among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to fall, but less than last year. “However, the current forecast foresees a number of potential downward risks,” they said.

They expect world oil supplies from outside of OPEC to increase 1 million b/d this year, following growth of 600,000 b/d in 2012. The 2013 forecast is up 100,000 b/d from the previous month’s outlook primarily because of forecast revisions for the US, Canada, Mexico, Syria, and the Sudans.

Estimated demand for OPEC crude for last year remained unchanged at 30.1 million b/d, indicating a decline of 100,000 b/d from 2011. This year, demand for OPEC crude is expected to average 29.7 million b/d, a drop of 400,000 b/d from last year and a downward adjustment of 100,000 b/d from the previous report.

Energy prices

The April contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes inched up 11¢ to $92.06/bbl Mar. 11 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The May contract rose 9¢ to $92.52/bbl.

On the US spot market, WTI at Cushing, Okla., was up 11¢ to $92.06/bbl. Heating oil for April delivery slipped 0.58¢ to $2.97/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month fell 5.11¢ to $3.15/gal.

The April natural gas contract gained 2¢ to $3.65/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., escalated 10.2¢ to $3.68/MMbtu.

In London, the April IPE contract for Brent dropped 63¢ to $110.22/bbl. Gas oil for March increased 50¢ to $925/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes declined 10¢ to $106.96/bbl.

Contact Sam Fletcher at

Related Articles

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...
White Papers

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

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
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