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MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices rebound modestly awaiting inventory report


Crude oil futures for July delivery regained some ground on the New York market June 16 to settle at just under $60/bbl as market participants awaited news from the Federal Reserve and as well as the weekly government inventory numbers on US crude oil and product supplies.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated commercial crude oil inventories, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased 2.7 million bbl for the week ended June 12 from the previous week. The latest total was 467.9 million bbl, the Petroleum Status Report showed.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen was scheduled to give a quarterly news conference later June 17 shortly after the Fed was expected to issue a policy statement and updated economic projections.

Tropical Storm Bill made landfall near Matagorda, Tex., on June 16 and moved into central Texas. The storm appears to have had little consequence to refining, drilling, or production. Enterprise Products Partners and Shell Oil evacuated some employees and contractors from offshore platforms in the western gulf as a safety precaution.

The National Hurricane Center on June 17 downgraded the system to a tropical depression. As of June 17, NHC reported sustained winds near 35 mph with higher gusts.

Rain of 4-8 in. was forecast across eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma and 3-6 in. over western Arkansas and southern Missouri. Forecasters said isolated bouts of up to 12 in. of rain were possible in Texas and Oklahoma along with flash flooding.

Refinery inputs drop

US refinery inputs averaged 16.3 million b/d during the week ended June 12, which was 294,000 b/d less than the previous week’s average, EIA said. Refineries operated at 93.1% of capacity last week.

Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.7 million b/d. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging more than 5 million b/d.

US crude oil imports averaged 7.1 million b/d last week, up 444,000 b/d from the previous week. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged more than 6.9 million b/d, 5.3% below the same 4-week period last year.

Total motor gasoline imports, including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, last week averaged 682,000 b/d, and distillate fuel imports averaged 147,000 b/d, EIA said.

Total motor gasoline inventories increased 500,000 bbl for the week ended June 12, which EIA was in the upper half of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week.

Distillate fuel inventories increased 100,000 bbl but are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year, EIA said. Propane-propylene inventories rose 1.9 million bbl and are well above the upper limit of the average range.

Energy prices

The July crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 45¢ on June 16 to settle at $59.97/bbl. The August contract was up 45¢ to settle at $60.45/bbl.

The natural gas contract for July was up less than a penny to remain at a rounded $2.89/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price rose 7¢ to $2.93/MMbtu.

Heating oil for July was up a rounded 1.5¢ to a rounded $1.88/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for July gained 2.5¢ to a rounded $2.12/gal.

The August ICE contract for Brent crude was down 25¢ to $63.70/bbl while the September contract dropped 17¢ to $64.49/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for July was up $1.75 to $577.75/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes for June 16 was $60.08/bbl, down 9¢.