MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices hold fairly steady pending inventory report

Light, sweet crude oil prices split on the New York market Feb. 28 with the April contract dropping slightly and the May contract gaining a penny. The US oil benchmark was gaining slightly in early Mar. 1 trading before the weekly government report on oil and product inventories.

Light, sweet crude oil prices split on the New York market Feb. 28 with the April contract dropping slightly and the May contract gaining a penny. The US oil benchmark was gaining slightly in early Mar. 1 trading before the weekly government report on oil and product inventories.

The US Energy Information Administration was scheduled Mar. 1 to release its oil supply estimate. The Wall Street Journal reported that analysts surveyed in advance of the report said they anticipated crude supplies rose by 2.4 million bbl.

The American Petroleum Institute said Feb. 28 that its own separate estimate showed oil supplies increased by 2.5 million bbl.

Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix said, “The market is waiting for stock reductions that have not been coming.”

Crude prices have edged up since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers cut production starting this year. Analysts say lower OPEC production has kept prices from falling below $50/bbl, but price gains appear to be capped by increasing US oil production.

Energy prices

The crude oil contract for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 4¢ on Feb. 28 to $54.01/bbl. The May contract was up 1¢ to $54.43/bbl.

The natural gas price for April settled at a rounded $2.77/MMbtu, up 8¢. The cash gas price at the Henry Hub in Cushing, Okla., closed at $2.51/MMbtu, up 7¢.

Heating oil for March declined a rounded 2¢ to a rounded $1.62/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for March fell 2¢ to a rounded $1.51/gal.

The Brent crude contract for April on London’s ICE was down 34¢ to $55.59/bbl. The Brent May contract gained 9¢ to $56.51/bbl. Gas oil for March closed at $489.25/tonne, down $8.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of benchmark crudes on Feb. 28 was $53.40/bbl, down 45¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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