MARKET WATCH: Oil prices climb pending US government report

Crude oil prices rose in late trading in New York Aug. 13 upon expectations that weekly US government inventory reports would show crude oil inventories at a 7-month low.

On the world oil market, Brent crude also rose on reports of supply disruptions from Nigeria, Libya, and Iraq.

Production from Ekofish complex in the Norwegian North Sea was down slightly because of a gas compressor at Ula field is being replaced. BP PLC told reporters the maintenance work was expected to continue until about Sept. 15.

Libya’s biggest crude export terminals were down Aug. 13 because of striking security guards. Although officials said exports could resume quickly, security guards had yet to reach an agreement to end the strike.

US inventory reports

On Aug. 13, the American Petroleum Institute reported rising fuel product inventories. Gasoline stockpiles rose 1.7 million bbl and distillate stocks rose 1.1 million bbl for the week ended Aug. 9.

US crude oil inventories fell 999,000 bbl last week, API said, prompting a late rally in crude prices on Aug. 13.

On Aug. 14, the US Energy Information Administration said refinery inputs averaged over 15.6 million b/d for the week ending Aug. 9, down 282,000 b/d from the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.4% of capacity during the week ended Aug. 9.

Gasoline production decreased, averaging 9.1 million b/d. Distillate fuel production also decreased, averaging about 4.9 million b/d, EIA said.

US crude oil imports averaged over 7.9 million b/d last week, up by 3,000 b/d from the previous week. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged 8 million b/d, which was 838,000 b/d below the same period last year.

EIA said imports of total finished gasoline and gasoline blending components for the week ended Aug. 9 averaged 513,000 b/d. Distillate fuel imports averaged 76,000 b/d last week.

US crude oil inventories, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased by 2.8 million bbl from the previous week. At 360.5 million bbl, crude inventories are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, EIA said.

Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million bbl and are near the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2 million bbl last week but are near the lower limit of the average range for this time of year.

Propane/propylene inventories remained unchanged from last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 1.9 million bbl last week.

Energy prices

The September contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes climbed 72¢ to $106.83/bbl Aug. 13 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, marking the highest closing price for that contract since Aug. 2. The October contract also rose, up 88¢ to $106.40/bbl.

Heating oil for September delivery increased 2.62¢ to settle at a rounded $3.05/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month rose 3.84¢ to $2.94/gal.

The September natural gas contract decreased 2.5¢ to close at a rounded $3.29/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., dropped by about 3¢ to a rounded $3.34/MMbtu.

In London, the September IPE contract for North Sea Brent rose 85¢ to $109.82/bbl, which was the highest settlement price since Apr. 2. The September contract for gas oil settled at $927.75/tonne, up $13.50.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes increased $1.48 to $106.75/bbl.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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