MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent oil futures prices both dip

Front-month crude oil futures prices settled lower on the New York market July 30, reaching their lowest closing since July 15, and continued the downward pattern in early trading on July 31.

Light, sweet crude oil prices were down 4.8% for the month as of July 30 and appear to be headed for the biggest monthly decline since October 2013, Bloomberg News noted. Crude oil prices also dropped on the London market, which analysts attributed to ongoing tensions in the Ukraine and elsewhere.

The Energy Information Administration estimated working gas in underground storage in the Lower 48 at a rounded 2.31 tcf as of July 25. This represents a net increase of 88 bcf from the previous week.

EIA’s weekly gas storage report said stocks were 530 bcf less than last year at this time and 641 bcf below the 5-year average of a rounded 2.95 tcf.

Natural gas futures prices have swung both down and up this week with the July 29 settlement for gas for August delivery closing at $3.74/MMbtu, marking an 8-month low. The price rebounded modestly on July 30 and dropped slightly for the July 31 closing.

Weather forecasts call for cooler-than-normal temperatures across much of the Midwest through the first 2 weeks of August. Lower demand for air conditioning means less demand for gas-fired power generation, analysts noted.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange September crude oil contract fell 70¢ on July 30, closing at $100.27/bbl. The October contract decreased 69¢ to $99.04/bbl.

The natural gas contract for September dropped 3.8¢ to a rounded $3.79/MMbtu. On the US cash market, gas at Henry Hub, La., rose 1¢ to $3.76/MMbtu.

Heating oil for August delivery dropped 1.61¢ to a rounded $2.89/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for August delivery was down 2.76¢ to a rounded $2.84/gal. The RBOB August contract expires at settlement July 31.

The September ICE contract for Brent crude delivery fell $1.21 to $106.51/bbl. The October contract decreased $1.06 to $106.99/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for August dropped 75¢ to $893.25/tonne.

A price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $105.21/bbl on July 30, down 23¢.

Contract Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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