By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Apr. 5 -- Crude oil futures prices in New York dropped Apr. 4 on expectations that US Energy Information Administration weekly inventory reports would show an increase in crude oil supplies.
The decline in crude prices was offset by robust gains in gasoline prices. The EIA reports that retail regular gasoline nationwide for the first quarter averaged $2.34/gal.
Crude oil prices are displaying strong fundamentals despite higher-than-average oil inventories, analysts said. They cited an uncertain outlook for oil supplies from Iran and Nigeria along with concerns about the upcoming hurricane season.
The New York Mercantile Exchange contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes for May delivery closed down 51¢ at $66.23/bbl Apr. 4. The June contract dipped by 38¢ to $67.66/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate lost 51¢ to $66.24/bbl.
Natural gas futures for May delivery on NYMEX declined 1.79¢ Apr. 4 to settle at $7.065/MMbtu "as the market focused on expectations of another rise in crude oil and natural gas inventories this week," Enerfax Daily said.
Gasoline for May delivery soared by 3.23¢ to $1.8955/gal on NYMEX. Heating oil for the same month lost 0.64¢ to $1.8558/gal.
In London, the May IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude lost 45¢ to $66.39/bbl. Gas oil for April was down $14.00 to $578.25/tonne.
The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of 11 benchmark crudes dropped 81¢ Apr. 4 to reach $61.01/bbl.