US light, sweet crude oil prices ended down slightly during the May 13 trading session after a switch in direction, yet the settlement price stayed above $60/bbl on the New York market, and analysts said the market clearly lacked direction given various government and agency reports.
Oil prices initially rose May 13 following a weekly government report showing a drop in the US oil inventory but prices later fell, which some analysts attributed to a refinery slowdown.
US refineries ran at 91.2% of capacity for the week ended May 8 compared with 93% capacity the previous week, said the US Energy Information Administration in its latest Petroleum Status Report. Typically, refinery capacity rises this time of year in anticipation of the summer driving season.
Separately, the International Energy Agency released a report May 13 saying ample world oil supplies are building with Saudi Arabia’s oil production holding near record highs (OGJ Online, May 13, 2015).
“In the supposed standoff between [the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] and US light, tight oil, LTO appears to have blinked,” IEA said in its Oil Market Report. “Following months of cost cutting and a 60% plunge in the US rig count, the relentless rise in US supply seems to be finally abating.”
Regarding natural gas in underground storage across the Lower 48, EIA estimated levels at a rounded 1.9 tcf as of May 8, representing a net increase of 111 bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 752 bcf higher than last year at this time and 38 bcf below the 5-year average, the Gas Storage Report said.
The natural gas contract for June delivery increased 3.8¢ to a rounded $2.93/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price held unchanged at $2.86/MMbtu.
Heating oil for June delivery edged up less than a penny to remain at a rounded $2/gal on May 13. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for June also increased by less than a cent to remain at $2.04/gal.
The June ICE contract for Brent crude was down 5¢ to $66.81/bbl, while the July contract was down 11¢ to $67.27/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for June was up $7.25 to $614.50/tonne.
The average price for the OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes for May 13 was unavailable because the OPEC Secretariat office was closed May 14.
Contact Paula Dittrick at [email protected].
*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.