MARKET WATCH: Crude oil prices gain pending US inventory report

Light, sweet crude oil prices rose Jan. 23 with the March contract closing at a 3-year high of $64.47/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the highest front-month settlement since Dec. 5, 2014.

Light, sweet crude oil prices rose Jan. 23 with the March contract closing at a 3-year high of $64.47/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the highest front-month settlement since Dec. 5, 2014.

Analysts attributed strengthening oil prices to comments by Saudi Arabia oil officials earlier this week in support of existing production-cut targets by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and others, including Russia.

On the London market Brent crude oil climbed 93¢ to settle at $69.96/bbl—its highest close since Jan. 15 when it closed above $70/bbl.

Meanwhile, US natural gas future prices rallied Jan. 23 to the highest level since Dec. 30, 2016.

The US Energy Information Administration was scheduled Jan. 24 to release its latest weekly inventory report on US crude oil and product supplies. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts have forecast a decline of 1.6 million bbl for the week ended Jan. 19. Previously the EIA reported US crude supplies fell 6.9 million bbl for the week ended Jan. 12—its ninth consecutive weekly decline.

The American Petroleum Institute estimated US crude supplies increased by 4.8 million bbl for the week ended Jan. 19.

Commerzbank issued a research note saying analysts expected rising US crude oil inventories. US refineries are expected to process less oil in coming weeks, Commerzbank said.

Energy prices

The March light, sweet crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 90¢ on Jan. 23. The March contract increased 88¢ to $63.31/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas price for February added 22¢ to a rounded $3.44/MMbtu. The Henry Hub cash gas price climbed 23¢ to $3.36/MMbtu.

Ultralow-sulfur diesel for February was up nearly 3¢ to a rounded $2.09/gal. The NYMEX reformulated gasoline blendstock for February also gained almost 3¢ to a rounded $1.91/gal.

Brent on London’s ICE for April climbed 91¢ to $69.54/bbl. The gas oil contract for February was $617.75/tonne, up $3.50.

OPEC’s basket of crudes was $67.32/bbl on Jan. 23, up 43¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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