MARKET WATCH: Oil prices continue to climb on supply concerns

Crude oil future prices on markets in New York and London climbed on Aug. 16 while traders monitored continuing unrest in Egypt and as reports of tropical systems in the Atlantic prompted at least two companies to evacuate some workers from the Gulf of Mexico.

As of Aug. 19, the National Hurricane Center said the two tropical systems had dissipated during the weekend, limiting possible near-term disruptions to offshore oil and gas production in the gulf.

The hurricane center downgraded Tropical Storm Erin, the fifth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic season, to a tropical depression. It was described as a remnant low by late Aug. 18.

A separate series of storms that forecasters had been tracking in the Caribbean broke up near the Yucatan Peninsula.

On Aug. 16, spokespeople from Marathon Oil Corp. and BP PLC said they had evacuated some workers from gulf platforms but production remained normal.

Analysts note the Atlantic hurricane season is known for churning some of its biggest storms in late August and through mid September. The season officially ends Nov. 30.

Energy prices

The September contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed 13¢ to $107.46/bbl Aug. 16 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The October contract rose 10¢ to $107.27/bbl. The September NYMEX crude contract is scheduled to expire at the close of trading Aug. 20.

Heating oil for September delivery edged up 1¢ to settle at $3.083/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month dropped 1.7¢ to settle at $2.9675/gal.

The September natural gas contract decreased 5¢ to close at $3.368/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., gained 2.6¢ to $3.36/MMbtu.

In London, the October IPE contract for North Sea Brent rose 80¢ to $110.40/bbl. The September contract for gas oil settled at $941.25/tonne, up $4.

There was no average price reported for Aug. 16 from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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