Crude oil prices for June delivery topped $60/bbl on the New York market May 5, and the upward momentum continued in early trading May 6 when prices reached $62/bbl for the first time since December 2014.
Analysts attributed the momentum to a weaker dollar and to Saudi Arabia raising its official selling prices to North America and Europe. Analyst also noted the rally appears to be driven more by speculative trading rather than by fundamentals.
The US Energy Information Administration reported commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased 3.9 million bbl for the week ended May 1 compared with the previous week. At 487 million bbl, crude oil inventories remain at the highest level for this time of year in at least the last 80 years.
Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 400,000 bbl for the week ended May 1, and EIA said that level was above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week.
Distillate fuel inventories increased 1.5 million bbl and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane-propylene inventories rose 1.8 million bbl and are well above the upper limit of the average range.
US refinery inputs averaged over 16.3 million b/d during the week ended May 1, which was 247,000 b/d more than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 93% of capacity.
Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.2 million b/d. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5 million b/d.
US crude oil imports averaged over 6.5 million b/d for the week ended May 1, down by 905,000 b/d from the previous week. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.2 million b/d, which was 5% below the same 4-week period last year.
Total motor gasoline imports, including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, last week averaged 626,000 b/d. Distillate fuel imports averaged 112,000 b/d last week.
The June crude oil contract on the New York Exchange June crude oil contract rose $1.47 on May 5 to $60.40/bbl. The July contract for NYMEX oil gained $1.34 to settle at $61.50/bbl.
The natural gas contract for June was down 4¢ to close at $2.78/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was $2.76/MMbtu, up 4¢.
Heating oil for June rose 3.6¢ to a rounded $2.01/gal on May 5. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for June increased 3¢ to a rounded $2.06/gal.
The June ICE contract for Brent crude moved up $1.07 to $67.52/bbl, while the July contract settled up $1.04 to $68.27/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for May gained $14.50 to $618.50/tonne.
The average price for the OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes for May 5 was $63.62/bbl, up 77¢.
Contact Paula Dittrick at [email protected].
*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.