MARKET WATCH: Oil, gas prices down in uncertain markets

On Apr. 1, the first trading day of the second quarter, front-month crude declined 0.2% in the New York futures market after the Institute for Supply Management reported a dip in its manufacturing index for March. Natural gas also was down 0.2% on forecasts for milder weather.

The ISM index dropped to 51.3 in March from 54.2 in February (OGJ Online, Apr. 1, 2013). Economists previously expected the index to dip to 54. The Oil Service Index and the SIG Oil Exploration & Production Index retreated 1.4% and 0.8%, respectively.

“The broader markets pulled back from all-time highs” on that report with Standard & Poor’s 500 index down 0.5%, said analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc. Economic data were worse in Asian markets “as Chinese factory output trailed forecasts and Japan's Tankan Index indicated pessimism from large manufacturers,” they said.

On Apr. 2, however, the US Department of Commerce reported orders to US factories jumped to 3% in February from a 1% decline in January, the biggest gain in 5 months. It was attributed primarily to a 95.1% surge in demand for commercial aircraft. But orders for core capital goods of machinery and equipment—indicators of industrial investment plans—fell 3.2%.

Orders for motor vehicles and parts increased 1.4%, DOC said. In separate reports Apr. 2, major automakers said auto sales were up in March, with some reporting the biggest sales since December 2007.

Based on these favorable economic indicators, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6% to a new high in early trading.

Meanwhile, the US Energy Information Administration reported natural gas production from the Lower 48 states dropped to 72.1 bcfd in January, down 670 MMcfd from December and 590 MMcfd from production a year ago. The decline was due in part to “weather-related shut-ins and freeze-offs,” Raymond James analysts said.

In other news, ExxonMobil Corp.’s Pegasus Pipeline from Patoka, Ill., to Nederland, Tex., was shut in following the discovery Mar. 29 of a leak near Mayflower, Ark. “Given an already high level of crude oil inventories in the US Midwest, it is feared that this will only exacerbate the problem as Canadian and Bakken oil production continues to grow,” said Marc Ground at Standard New York Securities Inc., the Standard Bank Group. ExxonMobil is cleaning up the spill, but there was no accurate information over the weekend of how much oil was spilled. The pipeline has a through-put capacity exceeding 90,000 b/d.

Energy prices

The May contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes dropped 16¢ to $97.07/bbl Apr. 1 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The June contract lost 11¢ to $97.38/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was down 16¢ to match the front-month futures closing of $97.07/bbl.

The new front-month May heating oil rose 2.17¢ to $3.07/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month dipped 0.91¢ to $3.10/gal.

The May natural gas contract slipped 0.9¢ to $4.02/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., declined 1.2¢ to $4.04/MMbtu.

London closing prices for North Sea Brent and gas oil were not available. The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes decreased 26¢ to $106.97/bbl. So far this year, OPEC’s basket price has averaged $109.44/bbl, compared with an average $109.45/bbl for all of 2012.

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

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