MARKET WATCH: Oil prices climb; gas regains moderately

Oil prices continued climbing May 3 with crude up 1.7% in the New York futures market, pulled along by the strong performance in the equity market following a favorable jobs report.

Natural gas was up 0.4%, but energy stocks failed to keep pace with the overall market rally. The Oil Service Index and the SIG Oil Exploration & Production Index increased 2% and 2/1% respectively.

US Department of Labor officials reported the addition of 165,000 jobs in April and revised previous job additions upward to 332,000 in February and 138,000 in March. They said US unemployment is down to a 4-year low of 7.5%.

Energy prices

The June and July contracts for benchmark US light, sweet crudes each rose $1.62 to $95.61/bbl and $95.82/bbl, respectively, May 3 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., also was up $1.62 to $95.61/bbl.

Heating oil for June delivery increased 2.89¢ to $2.88/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month escalated 4.48¢ to $2.83/bbl.

The June natural gas contract regained 1.6¢ to $4.04/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., continued falling, however, down 26.5¢ to $3.96/MMbtu.

In London, the June IPE contract for North Sea Brent gained $1.34 to $104.19/bbl. Gas oil for May jumped $23.25 to $858/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes climbed by $2.50 to $101.47/bbl. So far this year, OPEC’s basket price has averaged $107.03/bbl.

Contact Sam Fletcher at samf@ogjonline.com.

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