MARKET WATCH: Oil prices rebound slightly awaiting US decision on Syria

Oil prices climbed on New York and London markets Sept. 3 in response to comments indicating key US lawmakers will support US President Barack Obama’s call for a military air strike on Syria, renewing concerns about world crude oil supplies coming from the Middle East.

Oil prices have waffled for days while traders and analysts await a decision and timetable regarding a possible intervention against Syria President Bashar al-Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons against Syrian citizens last month.

Meanwhile, the US government’s weekly inventory report was delayed following the Labor Day holiday. The Energy Information Administration said its statistics will be released Sept. 5.

Regarding natural gas storage capacity levels, EIA said on Sept. 4 its Short-Term Energy Outlook projects that US working inventories will reach 3,800 bcf by the end of October.

The agency said April-October injections were similar to those in 2008–11 but much higher than in 2012, when Oct. 31 inventories reached a record 3,930 bcf.

Storage levels as of Oct. 31 are expected to be lower than a year ago because of increased withdrawals in the producing region given a colder winter along with flattening production, EIA said.

Energy prices

The October contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed 89¢, closing at $108.54/bbl on Sept. 3. The November crude contract fell 30¢ to $107.85/bbl.

Heating oil for October delivery gained 1¢ to settle at a rounded $3.15/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for October dropped 6.6¢ to $2.86/gal. The October natural gas contract was up 8¢, closing at $3.66/MMbtu on NYMEX.

On the US spot market, gas prices at Henry Hub, La., rose by 8¢ to a rounded $3.66/MMbtu.

In London, the October IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude gained $1.35 to $115.68/bbl. The contract for gas oil settled at $960.25/tonne, up $1.75.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported its basket of 12 benchmark crudes was up 88¢ on Sept. 3, closing at $111.20/bbl.

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