MARKET WATCH: Oil futures climb on US inventory drop

Crude oil futures prices climbed more than $1/bbl on the New York market May 7 after a weekly government report showed an unexpected drop in crude-oil supplies.

The US Energy Information Administration said crude oil supplies fell 1.8 million bbl to 397.6 million bbl for the week ended May 2 (OGJ Online, May 7, 2014).

Meanwhile, refineries were operated at 90.2% capacity for the week. EIA records indicated that was the highest utilization for early May since 2006. EIA reported the volume of crude supplies at Cushing fell for a fourth consecutive week, down 1.4 million bbl to 24 million bbl, the lowest since 2008.

On May 8, EIA said working natural gas in underground storage in the Lower 48 was estimated at 1,055 bcf as of May 2. This represents a net increase of 74 bcf from the previous week.

The latest weekly gas storage report showed levels were 797 bcf lower than last year at this time and 982 bcf below the 5-year average of 2.037 tcf.

On the international oil markets, crude prices have been supported by concerns that the Russia-Ukraine conflict could trigger Western sanctions against Russia that might reduce Russia’s oil exports.

On May 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin said pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine should delay a referendum about seceding from Ukraine. Analysts called his comments an indication that Russia is trying to ease tensions.

Consequently, oil prices fluctuated in early May 8 trading on New York and London markets. The main Ukrainian separatist groups said May 8 that it still plans to proceed with the scheduled May 11 referendum.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange June crude oil contract price rose $1.27 on May 7, closing at $100.77/bbl. The July contract climbed $1.31 to settle at $99.66/bbl.

The June natural gas contract decreased 5.9¢ to $4.74/MMbtu.

Heating oil for June delivery rose by a rounded 4¢ to a rounded $2.93/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for June delivery increased 3.24¢ to a rounded $2.92/gal.

In London, the June ICE contract for Brent crude delivery gained $1.07, closing at $108.13/bbl. The July contract rose $1.12 to settle at $107.61/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for May was up $1.75 to $902/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes held at $103.69/bbl on May 6, unchanged from May 5.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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