MARKET WATCH: Oil futures prices drop before US inventory gain

Oil futures prices dropped on the New York market Nov. 26 amid slow trading volumes as market participants awaited the Nov. 27 release of a weekly US government report on crude oil and product inventories that traders correctly anticipated showed a 10th consecutive climb.

The Energy Information Administration said US commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, reached 391.4 million bbl for the week ended Nov. 22, a 3 million bbl increase from the week ended Nov. 15.

Separately, the American Petroleum Institute reported US crude inventories of 390.2 million bbl for the week ended Nov. 22.

EIA said crude oil inventories remain well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.8 million bbl, staying above the upper limit of the average range.

Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.7 million bbl. Propane-propylene inventories fell 1.4 million bbl.

US refinery inputs averaged 15.6 million b/d for the week ended Nov. 22, which EIA said was 104,000 b/d higher than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.4% of capacity last week.

Gasoline production increased last week, averaging over 9.4 million b/d. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5 million b/d.

US crude oil imports averaged over 7.7 million b/d, down by 145,000 b/d from the previous week. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged 7.7 million b/d, 3.5% below the same 4-week period last year.

Total motor gasoline imports, including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, last week averaged 710,000 b/d, EIA said. Distillate fuel imports averaged 158,000 b/d.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange January crude contract declined 41¢ on Nov. 26, closing at $93.68/bbl. The February contract fell 40¢ to settle at $94/bbl.

Heating oil for December delivery climbed by 1.23¢ to settle at a rounded $3.04/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for December delivery gained 0.62¢ to a rounded $2.69/gal.

The December natural gas contract on NYMEX gained 2.9¢, settling at a rounded $3.82/MMbtu. On the US spot market, the gas price at Henry Hub, La., closed at $3.845/MMbtu on Nov. 26, marking a decrease of 1.5¢.

In London, the January ICE contract for Brent crude oil dropped 12¢, settling at $110.88/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for December rose by $9.75 to $944.50/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes climbed $1.29 on Nov. 26 to settle at $107.36/bbl.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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