MARKET WATCHSupply indicators ease oil prices

Jan. 26, 2006
Crude futures prices fell Jan. 25 for the third consecutive session on the New York market, pulling down other energy prices amid new indicators of adequate supplies.

Sam Fletcher
Senior Writer

HOUSTON, Jan. 26 -- Crude futures prices fell Jan. 25 for the third consecutive session on the New York market, pulling down other energy prices amid new indicators of adequate supplies.

The US Energy Information Administration said Jan. 25 commercial US crude inventories fell by 2.3 million bbl to 319.1 million bbl in the week ended Jan. 20. However, gasoline stocks rose by 3.2 million bbl to 214.8 million bbl, while distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.8 million bbl to 136.5 million bbl (OGJ Online, Jan. 25, 2005).

EIA reported Jan. 26 that 81 bcf of natural gas was withdrawn from US underground storage during the same week. That compares with withdrawals of 46 bcf the previous week and 230 bcf in the same period last year. US gas storage now stands at 2.5 tcf, up by 191 bcf from a year ago and 445 bcf above the 5-year average.

Nevertheless, said Paul Horsnell of Barclays Capital Inc., London, "Supply side uncertainties are expected to be a major theme for this year."

Meanwhile, oil companies in Nigeria reported no change in their operating conditions through Jan. 26, despite attacks by militants against facilities.

Energy prices
The March contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes fell by $1.21 to $65.85/bbl Jan. 25 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The April contract lost $1.17 to $66.48/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was down by $1.39 to $65.36/bbl. Gasoline for February delivery dropped 7.98¢ to $1.66/gal on NYMEX. Heating oil for the same month lost 2.65¢ to $1.79/gal. The February natural gas contract declined by 22.2¢ to $8.46/MMbtu on NYMEX.

In London, the March contract for North Sea Brent crude was down by $1.11 to $64.23/bbl. Gas oil for February lost $17.75 to $546.50/tonne on the International Petroleum Exchange.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of 11 benchmark crudes retreated by $1.03 to $59.48/bbl on Jan. 25.

Contact Sam Fletcher at [email protected].