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Refined Products

Recap: The downward spiral in oil prices continued for the fifth straight day, with future prices reaching a new three month low. After being weighed down yesterday by the bearish EIA report, prices succumbed to additional pressure from the Genscape report claiming that stockpiles held at Cushing, OK increased almost 328,000 barrels. September WTI settled at $41.14, down 78 cents, or 1.86%, while Brent for September delivery slipped 77 cents, or 1.77%, to settle at $42.70.

August RBOB settled at $1.3062, down 1.62, or 1.15%, while heating oil for August delivery settled at $1.2704, down 1.86%.

Fundamental News:
  Genscape reported that crude oil stocks held in Cushing, Oklahoma in the week ending July 26th increased by 327,985 barrels on the week.  Cushing stocks increased by 219,661 barrels since Friday, July 22nd. 

Libya's plans to increase its oil production suffered a setback after National Oil Corp took a stand against a proposed deal between the government and the Petroleum Facilities Guards that aimed to pave the way for the reopening of the country's key oil terminals. The chairman of NOC, Mustafa Sanalla, said that an agreement to reopen the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf was a mistake and would set a terrible precedent.  He said the agreement would encourage anybody to shut down a pipeline, an oil field or a port to see what they can extort.  He also stated that serious damage was done to the infrastructure in the two ports due to attacks carried out by Islamic State earlier this year, which means exports from these ports are not expected to increase by 100,000 bpd any time soon.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Gulf Cooperation Council oil producers, as well as Iraq and Iran, are likely to fill the oil supply gap from Venezuela, Algeria and Angola.  Those countries will attempt to keep gaining market share.  The bank expects growth of 1.2 and 500,000 bpd from the GCC, Iraq and Iran this year and next, respectively.

According to Goldman Sachs, a stronger US dollar presents the most risk to oil prices in the near term.  Analysts at Goldman Sachs said further dollar strength on economic uncertainty outside the US, along with a potential interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve, could push oil prices lower.  They stated that the gain in gasoline stocks is not a catalyst for further price declines because it is supply not demand driven. 

JBC said global oil demand is expected to increase by 1.43 million bpd in 2016 following stronger than expected growth in the first half of the year. 

Baker Hughes Inc said it does not expect a substantial recovery in drilling and pricing in North America this year, in contrast with comments from bigger rivals, Schlumberger Ltd and Halliburton Co. 

Gasoline stocks held independently in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub in the week ending July 28th fell by 5.17% on the week but increased by 15.36% on the year to 1.284 million tons.  Gasoil stocks fell by 4.29% on the week but increased by 1.67% on the year to 3.236 million tons while fuel oil stocks fell by 8.4% on the week and by 9.77% on the year to 785,000 tons.  Naphtha stocks increased by 32.55% on the week and by 33.81% on the year to 281,000 tons while jet fuel stocks increased by 1.57% on the week but fell by 15.45% on the year to 646,000 tons. 

The US Labor Department reported that the number of initial unemployment claim benefits increased by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 266,000 in the week ending July 23rd. 


Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Sep $40.92, down 22 cents

RBOB - Aug $1.2936, down 1.26 cents

HO - Aug $1.2656, down 48 points 



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Natural Gas

On Thursday, July 28th, the September NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts began trading as the prompt month.  Opening at $2.690, slightly above August’s settlement price of $2.672, prices traded evenly over the day’s first thirty minutes.  Mounting a steady ascent from the intraday low of $2.676, the contract rose to the $2.73 mark as the weekly storage release approached.  Spiking above $2.810 upon news of a bullish injection, traders pushed the contract as high as $2.864 at 11:30AM before stabilizing a penny lower.  Buying dominated the early afternoon as prices rose to the intraday high of $2.893 at 1:20PM, as the last hour of the day witnessed moderate selling, September closed nearly 8% higher on Thursday at $2.873.

The EIA Natural Gas Storage Report published on Thursday showed a 17 BCF injection to storage for the week ended July 22nd – below the market estimate of 25 BCF.  Total working gas in storage was reported as 3,294 BCF, 15.3% above this time last year and 18.9% above the five-year average.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down 26 cents; Natural Gas was down slightly; Heating Oil was down one cent; and, Gasoline was down two cents.  Additionally, cash prices were lower in New York and New England.

Natural Gas Glossary

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