By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 21 -- Energy futures prices increased Thursday as concerns over renewed violence in the Middle East outstripped news that Norway and Russia plan to abandon curbs on oil production and exports in the second half of this year.
In a statement to Congress, officials of the American Petroleum Institute said the US needs to increase both domestic and international sources of oil and natural gas to bolster energy security and to keep its economy growing. API said US petroleum companies will need to invest $1 trillion in the next 10 years to find and produce necessary new supplies of oil and gas.
The industry group urged enactment of energy legislation as an important step towards achieving those goals.
Meanwhile, Shell UK Exploration & Production reported its average daily crude production from the North Sea is expected to fall by 20,000 b/d in July from an anticipated average of 350,000 b/d in June. For the last 12 months through May, that production has averaged 367,000 b/d, officials said.
The July contract for benchmark US light, sweet crude gained 29¢ to $25.60/bbl Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the August contract added 37¢ to $25.95/bbl. In after-hours electronic trading, the August contract increased to $26.07, while the September contact advanced to $25.99/bbl.
Heating oil for July delivery increased 0.79¢ to 66.03¢/gal on NYMEX. Unleaded gasoline for the same month edged up 0.12¢ to 76.96¢/gal.
However, the July natural gas contract dropped 9.4¢ to $3.22/Mcf after the US Energy Information Administration on Wednesday revised US gas storage numbers back to November.
In London, the August contract for North Sea Brent jumped 52¢ to $25.07/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. The July natural gas contract also gained 1.7¢ to the equivalent of $1.81/Mcf on IPE.
The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven benchmark crudes gained 16¢ to $23.97/bbl Thursday.