MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices close above $53/bbl

US light, sweet crude oil prices for March delivery closed above $53/bbl on the New York market Feb. 17 after the market was closed on Feb. 16 for Presidents Day.

US light, sweet crude oil prices for March delivery closed above $53/bbl on the New York market Feb. 17 after the market was closed on Feb. 16 for Presidents Day.

Release of the weekly US government petroleum inventory report was delayed until Feb. 19 because of the Feb. 16 Presidents Day holiday. Meanwhile, the rally continued for Brent crude oil on Feb. 17 with prices closing on the London market above $62/bbl (OGJ Online, Feb. 17, 2015).

Saudi Arabian oil production likely is increasing, PIRA Energy Group of New York said in its weekly Energy Market Recap for the week ended Feb. 15. PIRA Energy researchers analyze world energy markets and the key economic and political factors driving those markets.

“Saudi production had been averaging around 9.7 million b/d since last June, but PIRA would now guess likely additional demand has pushed output to just under, if not above, 10 million b/d,” PIRA said after talking with Saudi customers and after reviewing recent US refiner earnings call information.

Commerzbank issued a research note saying oil exports from the south of Iraq totaled 1.5 million b/d during the first 10 days of February, 900,000 b/d lower than in January. Iraq, one of the biggest Middle Eastern oil producers, blamed bad weather for reduced oil exports this month.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange March crude oil contract climbed 75¢ to $53.53/bbl Feb. 17 while the April contract climbed by 62¢ to $54.29/bbl.

The natural gas contract on NYMEX for March declined rose 4.5¢ to a rounded $2.76/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was $2.95/MMbtu on Feb. 17, up 22¢ from the last reported settlement on Feb. 13.

Heating oil for March gained less than 1¢ to a rounded $1.98/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for March delivery fell 3.6¢ to a rounded $1.59/gal.

The April ICE contract for Brent crude oil rose $1.13, settling at $62.53/bbl. The May contract climbed $1.10 to $63.19/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for March dropped by $9 to $576.75/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Feb. 17 was $56.69/bbl, up 26¢ from Feb. 16.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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

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