MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil market steadies for now

Crude oil futures prices for February delivery climbed modestly on the New York market in Jan. 8 trading, and crude oil prices are in contango, meaning the front-month contract costs less than the next month’s contract.

Crude oil futures prices for February delivery climbed modestly on the New York market in Jan. 8 trading, and crude oil prices are in contango, meaning the front-month contract costs less than the next month’s contract.

Reuters news service noted it was the first contango for US crude and products since 2009.

The economy added 252,000 jobs during December and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6% from 5.8%, the US Labor Department said Jan. 9.

Meanwhile rigid temperatures across many states failed to spur a gas price spike as in previous winters. Analysts said gas prices hit a more-than-2-week low this week and are down 35% since mid-November.

This is contrary to what happened last winter. During February 2014, gas prices jumped by more than 30% within days during a cold snap.

Analysts attributed robust US gas production from unconventional plays for discouraging a price spike despite increased heating demand during recent cold days (OGJ Online, Jan. 8, 2015).

Energy prices

The NYMEX February crude oil contract rose 14¢ on Jan. 8, closing at $48.79/bbl. The March contract gained 20¢ to $49.28/bbl.

The natural gas contract for February rose 5.6¢ to a rounded $2.93/MMbtu. The cash gas price at Henry Hub, La., fell 16¢ to $2.91/MMbtu on Jan. 8.

Heating oil for February delivery was up 1¢ to a rounded $1.71/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for February edged up by less than a penny to remain at a rounded $1.34/gal.

The February ICE contract for Brent crude oil dropped 19¢ to $50.96/bbl. The March contract dropped 14¢ to $52.03/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for January gained $2.25 to $479.95/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Jan. 8 was $45.74, up 89¢ from the previous day.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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