Market watch: Oil product futures higher on delayed DOE report

Both crude oil and oil product futures prices closed higher Thursday following the release by the US Department of Energy of its weekly inventory report.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Oct. 18 -- Both crude oil and oil product futures prices closed higher Thursday following the release by the US Department of Energy of its weekly inventory report. The report—which was issued a day later than usual due to the Columbus Day holiday Monday in the US—showed that the country's stocks of oil had risen by 8.9 million bbl last week. Product stocks, however, fell, with home heating oil down by nearly 2 million bbl and gasoline off by 6 million bbl.

Heating oil for November delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange reached 80.77¢/gal, up 0.81¢. Unleaded gasoline for the same month also closed higher, up 0.05¢ to 83.98¢/gal.

Despite the DOE's report of rising oil stocks, the November contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes gained 15¢ Thursday to rest at $29.62/bbl on NYMEX, while the December contract rose by the same amount to close at $29.64/bbl.

The November natural gas contract gained 7.2¢ to $4.30/Mcf Thursday. "The market dipped early and then sharply lower as soon as the (Energy Information Administration) announced last week's storage data," analysts at Enerfax Daily reported Thursday. "But then, just as suddenly, the market turned around and jumped quickly higher, before leveling off in mid-afternoon trading and then dipping back down somewhat late," the analysts said.

The futures price for North Sea Brent crude, meanwhile, settled at $27.97/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange, up 8¢ from the previous day's close. The November natural gas contract fell by 3¢ to the equivalent of $3.75/Mcf on IPE.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes gained 3¢ Thursday, reaching $28.04/bbl.

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