MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil prices climb slightly..09/17/2015

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil prices climb slightly

OGJ Special Projects Editor*

Light, sweet crude oil prices for October climbed nearly 60¢/bbl Sept. 15 on the New York market while Brent crude oil prices gained slightly on the London market, which analysts attributed in part to reports of US unconventional oil and gas production dropping in coming weeks.

The US Energy Information Administration’s Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) said oil production from several shale plays is likely to fall by 80,000 b/d by October (OGJ Online, Sept. 14, 2015).

Separately in its short-term market report, EIA said total crude oil production will decline 4.3% from expected full-year 2015 levels to 8.8 million b/d by 2016. EIA forecasts were revised down by 100,000 b/d from August.

Analysis by groups outside government confirmed US unconventional oil production is declining.

Crude oil production from the South Texas Eagle Ford, one of more resilient plays during the commodity price downturn, has dropped for 7 consecutive months, down 17% over that time, the Wall Street Journal said, quoting ClipperData’s analysis.

Natural gas production across most shale regions was projected to decrease for the first time in September, EIA said in its DPR. Gas production from seven key shale regions reached a high in May at 45.6 bcfd and was expected to decline to 44.9 bcfd during September.

The Utica in Ohio was the only region to show a production increase during June through August.


EIA estimated US commercial crude oil reserves, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased 2.1 million bbl for the week ended Sept. 11 compared with the previous week. The latest total was estimated at 455.9 million bbl.

Total motor gasoline inventories increased 2.8 million bbl last week, and EIA said that level was in the upper half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week.

Distillate fuel inventories increased 3.1 million bbl but are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane-propylene inventories rose 1.1 million bbl last week and are well above the upper limit of the average range.

Refinery inputs averaged more than 16.5 million b/d for the week ended Sept. 11, which was 403,000 b/d more than the previous week’s average.

Refineries operated at 93.1% of capacity last week.

Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging more than 9.2 million b/d. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5.1 million b/d.

US crude oil imports averaged 7.2 million b/d last week, down 270,000 b/d from the previous week. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged more than 7.4 million b/d, which was 4.3% below the same 4-week period last year.

Total motor gasoline imports—including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components—last week averaged 722,000 b/d. Distillate fuel imports averaged 66,000 b/d last week.

Energy prices

The October crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange added 59¢ to $44.59/bbl on Sept. 15 while the November crude oil contract was up 57¢ to $45/bbl.

The natural gas contract for October declined 3¢ to a rounded $2.73/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was up 3¢ to $2.73/MMbtu.

Heating oil for October delivery declined less than a penny to hold steady at $1.50/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for October was up 2.9¢ to a rounded $1.33/gal.

The October ICE contract for Brent crude gained 26¢ to $46.63/bbl, and the November contract was up 40¢ to $47.75/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for October was down $7.25 to $457/tonne.

The average price for the OPEC basket of 12 benchmark crudes dropped 72¢ to $43.13/bbl on Sept. 15.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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