Crude oil prices gain ground in New York, London

Energy futures prices generally improved in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday. In London, North Sea Brent crude oil futures ended the day higher on the International Petroleum Exchange, following an unexpectedly bullish US oil stocks' report overnight Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Aug. 2 -- Energy futures prices generally improved in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday.

The September contract for light, sweet crude, the American benchmark, added 42¢ to settle at $26.77/bbl, while the October contract stood at $26.13, up 36¢. In after-hours electronic access trading in New York, the September position was fetching $26.81/bbl, and the October contract $26.15.

Refined petroleum products also ended higher, with September home heating oil rising by 0.33¢ to finish at 70.43¢/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month advanced 1.22¢ to end at 74.51¢/gal.

However, NYMEX natural gas for September delivery declined by 21.5¢ to finish at $3.081/Mcf.

Meanwhile, in London Wednesday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures ended the day higher on the International Petroleum Exchange, following an unexpectedly bullish US oil stocks' report overnight Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute.

Brokers said a 3.5 million bbl fall in crude oil stocks took the market by surprise -- another rise in inventories had been anticipated.

They said it now appeared the US economic slowdown might not have adversely effected oil consumption as much as previously thought.

However, the market's bullish reaction was cautious, and September Brent futures settled only 27¢ higher than Tuesday's close at $24.96/bbl. The day's high was $25.20 and the low $24.70.

The muted reaction to the API report and Brent's failure to break resistance at $25/bbl on the close suggests that the current gains could just as swiftly be erased, said traders.

Also on the IPE, the September natural gas contract fell 1¢ to the equivalent of $2.49/Mcf.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $23.49/bbl Wednesday, compared with $23.48 the day before.

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