Market watch: US natural gas prices decline with cool summer

US natural gas futures prices were near a 15-month low Monday in the face of unusually mild summer weather across the nation. The August contract for natural gas lost another 18.2¢ to $3.07/Mcf on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 17 -- US natural gas futures prices were near a 15-month low Monday in the face of unusually mild summer weather across the nation.

The August contract for natural gas lost another 18.2 ¢ to $3.07/Mcf on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The last time a near-term natural gas contract closed below $3/Mcf, sources said, was for April 2000 delivery.

Benchmark US sweet, light crude for August delivery dropped 53¢ to $26.06/bbl on the NYMEX, while the September contract retreated 23¢ to $25.91/bbl. Both continued their downward slide to $25.95/bbl and $25.85/bbl, respectively, in after-hours trading.

Refined products closed higher, however. The August contract for unleaded gasoline rose 0.96¢ to 74.37¢/gal, while home heating oil for the same month inched up 0.07¢ to 68.81¢/gal.

In London, where North Sea Brent oil closed below $25/bbl on Friday, follow-through selling Monday tested support at $24.50/bbl on the International Petroleum Institute.

The August Brent contract closed at $24.78/bbl, down 19¢ for the day after trading in a range of $24.56-$25/bbl. The August natural gas contract gained 2.7¢ to the equivalent of $2.55/Mcf on the IPE, however.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes lost 33¢ to $23.20/bbl on Monday.

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