MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil prices climb on lower US crude imports

Light, sweet crude oil prices for April settled well above $54/bbl on Feb. 23 after a weekly inventory showed US oil supplies rose less than analysts had anticipated. Analysts attributed the smaller-than-expected increase to a lower volume of imported crude oil.

Light, sweet crude oil prices for April settled well above $54/bbl on Feb. 23 after a weekly inventory showed US oil supplies rose less than analysts had anticipated. Analysts attributed the smaller-than-expected increase to a lower volume of imported crude oil.

US crude oil imports averaged 7.3 million b/d for the week ended Feb. 17, down 1.2 million b/d from the previous week, the Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed.

The US Energy Information Administration said the nation’s commercial crude oil inventories, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased 600,000 bbl for the week ended Feb. 17 from the previous week. The latest total was estimated at 518.7 million bbl (OGJ Online, Feb. 23, 1017).

Analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal before the inventory was released had said they expected a rise of 3.4 million bbl.

US production for the week ended Feb. 17 was 9 million b/d, up 24,000 b/d from the previous week. The latest level was the highest since April 2016. Alaska contributed 518,000 b/d, up 7,000 bbl from the previous week, while the Lower 48 contributed 8.48 million/bbl, up 17,000 b/d from the previous week, the Petroleum Status Report said.

US gas futures and spot prices increased after the EIA estimated natural gas in underground storage across the Lower 48 at 2.356 tcf as of Feb. 17, a net decrease of 89 bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 261 bcf less than last year at this time, the Weekly Gas Storage Report said.

On Feb. 21, gas for March delivery had settled at a 6-month low of $2.56/MMbtu. Gas futures gradually recovered during the week. The Feb. 23 settlement was up 2.5¢ to $2.62/MMbtu

Energy prices

The crude oil contract for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 86¢ on Feb. 23 to $53.59/bbl. The May contract was up 68¢ to $53.93/bbl.

The spot gas price at the Henry Hub in Cushing, Okla., closed at $2.60/MMbtu, up 7¢.

Heating oil for March climbed nearly 3¢ to a rounded $1.66/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for March gained 1.5¢ to a rounded $1.53/gal.

The Brent crude contract for April on London’s ICE was up 74¢ to $56.58/bbl. The Brent May contract climbed 78¢ to $56.82/bbl. Gas oil for March closed at $500/tonne, up $10.50.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of benchmark crudes on Feb. 2 was $53.95/bbl, up 47¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com

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