MARKET WATCH: Crude prices climb above $48/bbl as Harvey nears Texas

Aug. 24, 2017
Light, sweet crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange increased modestly on the New York market on Aug. 23, climbing to settle above $48/bbl for the first time this week.  

Light, sweet crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange increased modestly on the New York market on Aug. 23, climbing to settle above $48/bbl for the first time this week.

Brent crude fell Aug. 24 on the London market, trading within a $4 range where it has traded since late July. The US benchmark also fell in early Aug. 24 trading but was staying above $48/bbl.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated the US crude oil inventory, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, fell 3.3 million bbl for the week ended Aug. 18 to 463.2 million bbl, the Weekly Petroleum Status Report said. Stockpiles fell nearly 9 million bbl during the previous week (OGJ Online, Aug. 23, 2017).

Separately, the American Petroleum Institute estimated crude inventory dropped 3.6 million bbl during the week ended Aug. 18.

S&P Global Platts said the US inventory drop supported beliefs that ample world oil supplies are declining gradually.

“Traders already appear to be looking ahead to next month, when crude stocks typically build as refinery demand fades when units are taken offline for the fall maintenance period,” S&P Global Platts said.

But US oil production rose 26,000 b/d to 9.528 million b/d for the week ended Aug. 18, EIA said. Alaska production was up 14,000 b/d to 446,000 b/d while production across the Lower 48 was up 12,000 b/d to 9.082 million b/d.

Tropical Storm Harvey appeared headed toward Texas where weather forecasters said the biggest threat from the storm was heavy rain and risk of flooding.

The National Hurricane Center said Harvey was a Tropical Depression as of late Aug. 23. Hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge watches were issued for parts of the Texas coast. Harvey is expected to start pounding the Texas coast with rain and wind on Aug. 26.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather Prediction Center forecast more than 15 in. of rain for many areas, including Houston and locations north of Corpus Christi.

Energy prices

The September light, sweet crude contract on NYMEX rose 58¢ on Aug. 24 to settle at $48.41/bbl while the October contract climbed 60¢ to settle at $48.62/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas price for September fell 1¢ to a rounded $2.93/MMbtu. The Henry Hub cash gas price was $2.92/MMbtu, down 9¢.

Heating oil for September rose nearly 3¢ to a rounded $1.62/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for September was up nearly 3¢ to a rounded $1.62/gal.

The Brent crude contract for October on London’s ICE rose 70¢ to $52.57/bbl. The November contract gained 66¢ to $52.24/bbl. The September gas oil contract was $479/tonne on Aug. 23, up $5.25.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of crudes on Aug. 23 was $49.49/bbl, down 1¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at [email protected].

About the Author

Paula Dittrick | Senior Staff Writer

Paula Dittrick has covered oil and gas from Houston for more than 20 years. Starting in May 2007, she developed a health, safety, and environment beat for Oil & Gas Journal. Dittrick is familiar with the industry’s financial aspects. She also monitors issues associated with carbon sequestration and renewable energy.

Dittrick joined OGJ in February 2001. Previously, she worked for Dow Jones and United Press International. She began writing about oil and gas as UPI’s West Texas bureau chief during the 1980s. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska in 1974.