MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices near $53/bbl

US light, sweet crude oil prices closed more than $1/bbl higher on the New York market Feb. 13, and Brent crude oil prices settled more than $2/bbl higher on strong economic indicators from Europe where stock markets ended a volatile week at 7-year highs.

US light, sweet crude oil prices closed more than $1/bbl higher on the New York market Feb. 13, and Brent crude oil prices settled more than $2/bbl higher on strong economic indicators from Europe where stock markets ended a volatile week at 7-year highs.

Germany’s central bank, Bundesbank, said the German economy was improving faster than expected, which analysts took as a positive sign for the European economy in general. Falling oil prices are believed to have helped support the German economy because Germany imports much of its energy.

The New York Mercantile Exchange was closed on Feb. 16 for Presidents Day. Meanwhile, the rally continued for Brent crude oil on Feb. 16. Brent prices closed on the London market above $60/bbl on Feb. 13.

During the weekend, Libya’s state-owned National Oil Co. reported an explosion at a Sarir oil field pipeline, which officials blamed on militant attacks. Until now, Sarir has been Libya’s highest-producing field at 185,000 b/d, but pipeline damage could stop the flow of production, NOC said.

Libya’s total production fell to about 325,000 b/d during January compared with nearly 900,000 b/d during October 2014, NOC said.

The pipeline blast was the latest in a continuing series of attacks. On Feb. 13, two oil fields were attacked. Libyan oil officials said guards fought gunmen who attacked Bahi oil field operated by Waha Oil Co., an NOC joint venture with ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil Corp., and Hess Corp.

Militants also were reported to have attacked Mabruk oil field, operated by a Libyan joint venture with Total SA as a partner.

Energy prices

The NYMEX March crude oil contract jumped $1.57 to $52.78/bbl Feb. 13 while the April contract climbed by $1.51 to $53.67/bbl.

The natural gas contract on NYMEX for March rose 9¢ to a rounded $2.80/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was $2.73/MMbtu, down 12.5¢.

Heating oil for March gained nearly 6¢ to a rounded $1.97/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for March delivery was up 3¢ to a rounded $1.63/gal.

The April ICE contract for Brent crude oil jumped $2.24, settling at $61.52/bbl. The May contract escalated $2.04 to $62.33/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for March climbed $21 to $583.50/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Feb. 13 was $55.97/bbl, up $3.11 from Feb. 12.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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

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