MARKET WATCH: NYMEX gasoline hits 2-year highs, crude oil tops $47/bbl

The light, sweet crude oil contract for October jumped by more than $1 to settle above $47/bbl Aug. 31 while gasoline futures prices reached 2-year highs, having gained for 8 consecutive days on the New York futures market.

The light, sweet crude oil contract for October jumped by more than $1 to settle above $47/bbl Aug. 31 while gasoline futures prices reached 2-year highs, having gained for 8 consecutive days on the New York futures market.

Traders said the benchmark US gasoline futures price accelerated Aug. 31 after Colonial Pipeline Co. said it is unable to get enough fuel to operate its pipeline between Houston and Lake Charles, La., limiting the amount it can transport elsewhere.

The New York Mercantile Exchange reformulated gasoline blendstock climbed 25.5¢ to settle at a rounded $2.14/gal on Aug. 31 as the September contract expired.

Colonial representatives said they continue getting some fuel from plants in Lake Charles and eastward, but deliveries remain intermittent, depending on terminal and refinery supply, until at least Sept. 3.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Tex., on Aug. 25. Although quickly downgraded to a tropical storm, Harvey flooded Houston and East Texas as it moved into southwestern Louisiana.

The US Department of Energy update on Tropical Storm Harvey said 10 Gulf Coast refineries with a combined capacity of about 3.08 million b/d—equal to 16.6% of total US refining capacity—remained shut down as of Aug. 30 (OGJ Online, Aug. 31, 2017).

ExxonMobil Corp.’s olefins plant at its Baytown, Tex., chemical and refinery complex was partially operating as of Aug. 30, S&P Global Platts reported.

Enterprise Products Partners said it already shut four of the eight fractionators at its operations at the largest US natural gas liquids hub in Mont Belvieu, Tex., about 30 miles east of Houston, S&P Global Platts said.

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reported as of midday Aug. 31 that an estimated 13.49% or 236,115 b/d of oil remained shut in as a result of the weather event. BSEE also estimated 17.64% of the natural gas production or 568.09 MMcfd remained shut in.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal polled 14 investment bankers who forecast Brent crude oil will average $54/bbl in 2017, down $1 from the July WSJ survey results. The banks expect US light, sweet crude will average $51/bbl in 2018, down $2 from the previous survey. The survey was taken before Harvey came ashore.

Energy prices

The October light, sweet crude contract on NYMEX climbed $1.27 on Aug. 31 to settle at $47.23/bbl while the November contract was up $1.45 to settle at $47.96/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas price for September jumped 10¢ to $3.04/MMbtu. The Henry Hub cash gas price was $2.89/MMbtu, up 3¢. Heating oil for September rose 8¢ to a rounded $1.75/gal.

The Brent crude contract for October on London’s ICE was up $1.52 to $52.38/bbl. The November contract increased $2.13 to $52.86/bbl. The gas oil contract was $504.75/tonne on Aug. 31, up $6.25.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of crudes for Aug. 31 was unavailable because OPEC’s offices were closed Sept. 1.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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