MARKET WATCH: Crude oil traded higher amid Washington budget talks

Crude oil futures prices traded higher on the New York market Oct. 14 as US lawmakers reported progress in ongoing efforts toward reaching an agreement to reopen the federal government and to avoid a potential debt crisis.

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said late Oct. 14 that “tremendous progress” was made toward reopening the government at existing spending levels until Jan. 15, 2014, and to extend the federal borrowing limit until early February from an Oct. 17 deadline.

The US Energy Information Administration has closed, halting publication of its weekly oil inventory statistics. But the American Petroleum Institute was expected on Oct. 16 to release its weekly report on US inventories for the week ended Oct. 11.

Elsewhere, world oil markets monitored talks between Iran and major Western powers in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear program. Saying Iran intends to develop nuclear power, not nuclear weapons, Iranian officials were scheduled to meet with representatives of the United Nations Security Council Oct. 15-16.

Any change in international sanctions against Iran likely would pressure oil prices downward, analysts said. In the last 2 years, Saudi Arabia has increased production to fill the gap created by the decline in Iranian oil exports.

Energy prices

The NYMEX November crude contract gained 39¢ on Oct. 14, settling at $102.41/bbl. The December contract gained 42¢ to $102.48/bbl.

Heating oil for November delivery held steady at a rounded $3.03/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for November also held at a rounded $2.67/gal.

The November natural gas contract was up 4.4¢ to $3.82/MMbtu on NYMEX. The December gas contract settled at a rounded $3.97/MMbtu, up 3.7¢. On the US spot market, the gas price at Henry Hub, La., was $3.80/MMbtu, up 6.7¢.

In London, the November IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude fell 24¢ to settle at $111.04/bbl. The December contract for Brent fell 18¢ to $110.24/bbl. The November contract for ICE gas oil slipped $2 to $931.50/tonne.

The Oct. 14 price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries basket of 12 benchmark crudes was unavailable on Oct. 15 because the OPEC Secretariat was closed.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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