Market watch: Energy prices mixed, crude relatively unchanged

Energy futures closed mixed in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday as traders tried to calculate the impact of recently announced crude production cuts combined with increases in US crude inventories.


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, Mar. 30�Energy futures closed mixed in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday as traders tried to figure out the impact of recently announced crude production cuts combined with increases in US crude inventories.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy announced it had agreed to a delay in the return of 23.8 million bbl out of the 30 million bbl drawn from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year (OGJ Online, Mar. 29, 2001). Traders said the postponed return of that much crude could add to already growing US crude supplies.

Benchmark US light, sweet crude for May delivery added 1� to settle at $26.32/bbl while the June contract dropped 1� to finish at $26.48/bbl.

Refined petroleum products closed higher, with April home heating oil rising 2.72�/gal to close at 77.79�/gal while unleaded gasoline for the same month jumped 0.90� to close at 91.92�/gal.

Natural gas for May delivery on the NYMEX declined by 17.9� to end at $5.27/Mcf.

In London, the May contract for North Sea Brent crude futures on the International Petroleum Exchange settled at $24.50/bbl, down 77� from the previous close. The day�s high was $25.20 and the low was $24.33.

On the IPE, the April natural gas contract closed at the equivalent of $3.29/Mcf, down 9�.

The average price for OPEC�s basket of seven crudes declined 54� to $22.95/bbl.

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