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Refined Products

Recap: Oil rallied back today, sparked by improvements in global stocks, a request by Venezuela for an emergency meeting by OPEC, and a declaration of force majeure by Shell on its Nigerian oil exports. The higher move triggered short covering by weak longs, which in turn took the October WTI contract to a high of $42.75. Today's higher move was the largest one-day rally in six years. Oil continued to trade in tandem with the stock market until late in the session, when stocks turned lower, but oil held. October WTI gained 10.26 percent to close at $42.56. Brent for October posted a 10.25 percent gain, settling at $47.56.  

Both ULSD and RBOB made significant gains, dragged higher by the move in oil. October ULSD added 10.29 cents to settle at $1.4960. RBOB for October delivery settled at $1.3287, up 9.81 cents. Despite today's higher move in the products, cracks spread barely moved. The October RBOB crack settled at $13.2454, up from $13.0852 yesterday. The October ULSD crack settled at $20.986, up from $20.1286 yesterday.

Fundamental News: The White House said that the US State Department continues to review TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada's oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries. 

Venezuela has requested an OPEC emergency meeting on oil prices. 

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh blamed the latest fall in oil prices on some members of OPEC.  He said holding an emergency OPEC meeting may be effective in stabilizing the oil price. 

In a report, the UN's IAEA said Iran appears to have built an extension to part of its Parchin military site since May. 

Iran will offer a project to extract oil from its South Pars gas field along with three other gas fields at a conference in London later this year.  The project is estimated to hold 7 billion barrels of oil in reserves.   

Royal Dutch Shell's Nigeria operation has declared a force majeure on its Bonny Light crude oil exports after shutting down the Trans-Niger Pipeline due to a leak and the Nembe Creek Trunkline to repair damage caused by oil thieves.      

BP Plc sold heavy Canadian crude for fourth quarter delivery in Cushing, Oklahoma.  The sale to refiner Phillips 66 fueled speculation about operations at BP's Whiting, Indiana refinery. 

Phillips 66 said crews are still working to resolve a cooling tower issue at its 306,000 bpd Wood River, Illinois refinery. 

Gasoline stocks independently held at Europe's Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub in the week ending August 27th increased by 1.32% on the week and by 23.43% on the year to 1.001 million tons.  Gasoil stocks increased by 4% on the week and by 22.86% on the year to 3.381 million tons while fuel oil stocks fell by 3.67% on the week but increased by 71.18% on the year to 998,000 tons.  Naphtha stocks increased by 6.75% on the week and by 38.91% on the year to 332,000 tons while jet fuel stocks increased by 3.12% on the week and by 98.18% on the year to 761,000 tons.

The Commerce Department reported that GDP expanded at a 3.7% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the second quarter of 2015, instead of the 2.3% rate reported last month.  The economy grew at a 0.6% rate in the first quarter.  Consumer spending grew at a 3.1% rate, up from a previous estimate of 2.9%.    

The Labor Department said initial unemployment claims fell by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 271,000 in the week ending August 22nd

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Oct $41.97, down 59 cents

RBOB - Sep  $1.4469, down 99 points

ULSD - Sep $1.4936, down 24 points

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Natural Gas

On Thursday, August 27th—the settlement day for the September contract— the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts opened at $2.673, two cents below Wednesday’s closing price of $2.693.  Gradually descending early on, prices fell to $2.657 at 9:30AM, but managed to recover to the day’s opening territory thirty minutes later.  As soon as the bearish report was published, prices plunged to the intraday low of $2.630, though succeeded in rising above $2.680 in the following minutes.  Following a temporary decline, September initiated a confident ascent to tally the intraday high of $2.696 at 11:40AM.  Cascading lower for the balance of the day, September settled lower on Thursday at $2.638.

The EIA Natural Gas Storage Report published on Thursday showed a 69 BCF injection to storage for the week ended August 21st –above the market estimate of 63 BCF.  Total working gas in storage was reported as 3,099 BCF, 18.3% above this time last year and 2.9% above the five-year average.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down 48 cents; Natural Gas was up four cents; Heating Oil was down slightly; and, Gasoline was down two cents.

New York and New England cash prices were lower across the board.

Natural Gas Glossary

For access to Sprague’s full Natural Gas Market Watch Report including commentary not posted here, please send your request to or call 1-855-466-2842.