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Refined Products

Recap: Oil futures fell for the first time in four weeks on waning belief that OPEC and non-OPEC members would agree to freeze output. Trading was choppy due to remarks from Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve,on a U.S. interest rate hike and reports of Yemeni missile strikes hitting a power relay facility in Saudi Arabia. October WTI posted modest gains as the dollar weakened and traders covered shorts ahead of the weekend. The spot futures contract settled at $47.64 a barrel, up 31 cents, or 0.65% on the day, but 3% lower on the week. October Brent gained 25 cents, or 0.5%, to $49.92 a barrel, which is 1.9% lower for the week.  

September RBOB tacked on less than 0.1% at $1.5123 a gallon, with the contract settling about flat for the week. September heating oil shed 1.2 cents, or 0.8%, to $1.4972 a gallon, down about 1.5% for the week.

Fundamental News: Rumors circulated on Twitter Friday suggesting that a missile fired by the Yemeni military had hit a Saudi Aramco facility. Iran Press TV and Yemen's Al-Masirah TV also reported the story. Later in the morning though, Saudi Aramco said that all of its facilities in the kingdom were operating normally. Aramco also noted that it has no oil facilities in southern Saudi Arabia, where the missile attack was reported, apart from a bulk plant in Jazan province for distributing oil products. The Saudi state news agency SPA reported that a Saudi power relay station was set on fire on Friday from the missile strike. The fire had already been extinguished and repairs were underway.

Iran's oil minister said on Friday that it would cooperate with other oil producers to stabilize oil markets, but added that it expected others to respect its individual rights. When asked by reporters about an oil output freeze, he said Iran supports any effort to stabilize the market.

OPEC's Secretary General said Friday that he sees a growing understanding inside and outside of OPEC that proactive action is needed to manage crude oil production in order to support prices. He said "we have seen where the approach of non-intervention in prices since 2014 has led." When asked about the possibility of an agreement on freezing production levels, he said "nothing is impossible in the current situation and I know that no country in OPEC is immune to low prices."  

Norway's oil ministry told Reuters Friday that Norway is not involved in talks about a possible meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC countries. The ministry said Norway has no plan for measures regulating production.

IIR said Friday that they expect U.S. oil refiners to have around 236,000 b/d of refining capacity offline in the week ending August 26th, up some 33,000 b/d from the previous week.

Baker Hughes reported midday Friday that the number of oil rigs drilling for oil in the United States this week remained unchanged from the prior week at 406. This follows eight consecutive weeks of rig additions.

BP reported Friday it had begun securing facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and evacuating non-essential personnel from its drilling rigs and platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as a precaution against a storm threat. Other operators in the region said they were still monitoring the weather and had not undertaken evacuations as of yet.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said, in a long anticipated speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday, that the Fed thinks the U.S. economy is close to meeting its goal of maximum employment and stable prices. She described consumer spending as "solid", but noted that business investment was weak and exports were taking a hit from a strong U.S. dollar. As a result she thought the case has been made for an eventual increase in interest rates in the coming months.

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Oct $47.64, down 79 cents

RBOB - Sep $1.5128, down 3.52 cents

HO - Sep $1.4972, down 2.08 cents 

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Natural Gas

Friday, August 26th, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $2.812, three cents below Thursday’s closing price of $2.846.  Traders drove the contract upward out of the gate on Friday morning, as September’s settlement is fast approaching and Thursday’s slightly bullish report paled in comparison to the five-year injection average of 67 BCF.  Climbing confidently throughout the morning, prices ascended to $2.860 by noon, and posted additional gains to reach a three-week intraday high of $2.907 at 1:30PM.  Losing ground in the following hour, September closed higher on Friday at $2.871.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down 65 cents; Natural Gas was down two cents; Heating Oil was down two cents; and, Gasoline was down three cents.  Additionally, cash prices were lower in New York and New England.


Natural Gas Glossary

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