MARKET WATCH: Oil prices close under $85/bbl

The benchmark oil price settled below $85/bbl on the New York market on Apr. 9, wiping out gains from earlier in the week when prices jumped above $86/bbl for the Apr. 5 closing of $86.62/bbl (OGJ Online, Apr. 6, 2010).

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Apr. 12 -- The benchmark oil price settled below $85/bbl on the New York market on Apr. 9, wiping out gains from earlier in the week when prices jumped above $86/bbl for the Apr. 5 closing of $86.62/bbl (OGJ Online, Apr. 6, 2010).

“Crude posted its third straight day of losses on [Apr. 9], but remains near its 18-month high,” said Darren Horowitz of the Raymond James & Associates Inc. office in Houston.

Horowitz believes crude traded slightly down based upon fears that rising prices could begin to curb fuel demand heading into the summer peak driving months.

Meanwhile, Raymond James cut its 2010 natural gas price forecast to $4.25/Mcf from $5/Mcf. Analysts also reduced their 2011 gas forecast to $4.75/Mcf from $5/Mcf.

Raymond James analysts said their gas-price forecasts made in January appear too high because US gas supply increased much faster than expected and US LNG imports rose modestly higher than anticipated.

Energy prices
In NYMEX trading on Apr. 9, the May sweet, light crudes contract closed at $84.92/bbl, down 47¢ for the day. The June contract lost 48¢ to $86.03/bbl. On the US spot market, WTI at Cushing was down 47¢ to $84.92/bbl. Heating oil for May delivery declined less than 1¢ to $2.226/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated blend stock for oxygenate blending for the same month also decreased less than 1¢ to $2.298/gal.

The May natural gas contract gained 16.1¢ to $4.07/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, the gas price at Henry Hub, La., climbed by 0.5¢ to $3.90/MMbtu.

In London, the May IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude gained 2¢ to $84.83/bbl. Gas oil for April climbed $1 to $709.50/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 reference crudes was up 37¢ to $81.97/bbl.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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