Market watch: Energy futures prices rise with Northeast seasonal snowfall

Energy futures prices improved Friday with the first snowfall of the season in the Northeast US, the world's largest market for home heating oil. The January contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes climbed 50¢ to $19.04/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Dec 10th, 2001

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 10 -- Energy futures prices improved Friday with the first snowfall of the season in the Northeast US, the world's largest market for home heating oil.

Arrival of close-to-normal temperatures for this time of year after earlier delays apparently put traders in a more bullish mood. Some analysts also indicated a better chance now that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries might proceed with its proposed 1.5 million b/d rollback of production quotas in January, accompanied by a 500,000 b/d cut of non-OPEC production.

The January contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes climbed 50¢ to $19.04/bbl Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The February contract was up 52¢ to $19.45/bbl. However, both contracts slipped in after-hours electronic trading back to $18.78/bbl and $19.17/bbl respectively.

Home heating oil for January delivery jumped by 1.02¢ to 51.68¢/gal. Observers of that market frequently joke that prices usually improve on days that traders have to wear their overcoats to work. Unleaded gasoline for the same month gained 0.75¢ to 52.5¢/gal. The January natural gas contract also inched up 0.3¢ to $2.57/Mcf Friday.

In London, the January position for North Sea Brent oil gained 64¢ to $19.03/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange, while the February Brent contract rose 60¢ to $19.15/bbl.

However, the January natural gas contract dropped 3.4¢ to the equivalent of $3.81/Mcf on the IPE.

The average price for OPEC's basket of seven crudes also dipped by 50¢ to $17.10/bbl Friday.

For the full week, however, that average price was up 45¢ to $17.93/bbl. So far this year, the basket price for OPEC's oil has averaged $23.47/bbl, down from $27.60/bbl for all of 2000.

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