MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude, gas futures settle lower

Crude oil prices on the New York market declined in trading July 7 as did natural gas futures prices on forecasts for cooler temperatures in the US Midwest and Northeast for 6-10 days.

Cooler temperatures indicate falling demand for air conditioning, and utilities likely will not burn as much gas in coming days as they would have used during higher temperatures, analysts said.

Meanwhile, in international news, Libya said July 6 it has lifted force majeure at the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, which account for nearly half of the country’s oil exports under normal circumstances. Labor disputes had closed Libya’s oil ports for months.

Analysts were cautious, noting that earlier agreements to reopen Libya’s ports have fallen apart (OGJ Online, July 3, 2014).

Brent crude oil futures prices continued to decline upon lessening concerns about disruption to Iraqi oil supplies, analysts said. Global oil markets appear to be well supplied, Oil & Gas Journal noted in a recent special report (OGJ, July 7, 2014, p. 32).

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange August crude oil contract lost 53¢ on July 7, closing at $103.53/bbl. The September contract declined 48¢ to $103.03/bbl.

The natural gas contract for August fell 18¢ to a rounded $4.23/MMbtu, which the Wall Street Journal called the biggest single-day drop since Feb. 26. On the US cash market, gas at Henry Hub, La., was $4.25/MMbtu on July 7, down 4¢.

Heating oil for August delivery fell a rounded 1.4¢ to a rounded $2.91/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for August delivery dropped a rounded 3.1¢ to $2.99/gal.

The August ICE contract for Brent crude delivery relinquished 40¢, closing at $110.24/bbl. The September contract dropped 38¢ to $110.18/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for July declined $1.50 to $896.25/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes for July 7 was $106.90/bbl, down 44¢ from July 4.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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