MARKET WATCH: Crude prices end week down, natural gas flat

Crude oil prices fell on the week “after military operations in Syria by the West never materialized,” observed analysts with Raymond James & Associates Inc. “Natural gas was flat on the week, they said.

Raymond James analysts, however, forecast that US exploration and production spending will rise in 2014—“stronger than our relatively bearish oil price deck would suggest.”

They explain, “The logic is simple—since 2013 has been a rare year of dramatic “underspending” by the US E&P complex, 2014 should be a “rebound” year where E&P companies spend excess cash from 2013 plus new cash generated in 2014.”

Specifically, they said they expect “E&P cash flows to be down about 10% next year, but capital spending to actually be up 5-10% in 2014.”

Energy prices

The October contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1.72 on Sept. 20, settling at $104.67/bbl. The November crude contract fell $1.11 to settle at $104.75/bbl.

Heating oil for October delivery remained virtually unchanged at a rounded $3/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for October declined 1.3¢ to a rounded $2.68/gal.

The October natural gas contract was down 3.3¢ to a rounded $3.69/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, the gas price at Henry Hub, La. was a rounded $3.68/MMbtu, a 5¢ decrease.

In London, the November IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude declined 46¢ to $109.22/bbl. The October contract for gas oil settled at $925.25/tonne, down $9.25.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported its basket of 12 benchmark crudes fell $1.06 to $107.34/bbl on Sept. 20.

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