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Refined Products

Recap: On Friday, oil futures were marginally changed, in what was a thinly traded market. Throughout the session, both May WTI and May Brent remained within a 58 cent range due to the lack of any new fundamentals. WTI finished at $47.97, up 27 cents, or 0.57%, while Brent closed up 24 cents, or 0.47%, to settle at $50.80.

April RBOB settled up 1% at $1.605 a gallon, to end the week up 0.4%, while April heating oil added 0.5% at $1.498 a gallon, down about 0.7% for the week.

Fundamental NewsBaker Hughes reported that the number of rigs drilling for oil in the US increased by 21 in the past week to 652 for the week ending March 24th.

Oil Movements reported that OPEC shipments are expected to fall by 160,000 bpd to 23.76 million bpd in the four weeks ending April 8th compared with the previous four week period ending March 11th.

Saudi Arabia said its crude exports to the US would fall by 300,000 bpd between February and March.

A decision on whether Russia supports an extension of the OPEC and non-OPEC output cut agreement beyond June will ultimately be taken in the Kremlin, and private oil companies have limited say.  However, Russian oil companies supporting the extension is a tentative sign that oil price rises have weakened some of the opposition to global production cuts.  Last week, the chief executive of Lukoil, Vagit Alekperov, said it was expedient to continue cuts, as the deal has already brought its first results.  Tatneft said it stood ready for output reduction.  Russneft said that the company was ready to extend production cuts if it serves Russian interests.

Venezuela's PDVSA was rushing to replenish gasoline supplies in various neighborhoods of Caracas on March 23rd as drivers lined up at filling stations amid a worsening shortage of fuel.  While PDVSA says the situation is normalizing and blamed the lines on transport delays, the opposition says the company has had to reduce costly fuel imports as it attempts to preserve cash to pay for its foreign debt.

According to TransCanada, the Keystone XL oil pipeline has been approved by President Donald Trump.  The move overturns a 2015 decision by former President Barack Obama.  The US Department of State has signed and issued a presidential permit to construct the pipeline.  The pipeline will transport more than 800,000 bpd of heavy crude from Canada's oil sands in Alberta into Nebraska, linking to an existing pipeline network feeding US refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

US biodiesel producers on Thursday asked the US government to impose antidumping duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia that it says have flooded the US market and violated trade agreements.

Non-OPEC Oman has notified its term customers in Asia that it will reduce supplies by 15% from June to meet local demand and as part of its commitment to cut output under the OPEC and non-OPEC agreement.

IIR reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 1.344 million bpd of capacity in the week ending March 24th, increasing available capacity by 373,000 bpd from the previous week.  IIR expects offline capacity to fall to 834,000 bpd in the week ending March 31st and to 466,000 bpd in the following week. 

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - May $47.38, down 60 cents

RBOB - Apr $1.6012, down 41 points

HO - Apr $1.4895, down 85 points 

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Natural Gas

Friday, March 24th, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $3.022, three cents below Thursday’s closing price of $3.051.  Recovering any overnight losses in the day’s opening minutes, prices continued their growth into the morning to cross midday at the $3.07 mark.  Extending to the intraday high of $3.086 at 12:20PM, a short-lived retreat below $3.060 in the following hour was soon overcome as April closed higher on Friday at $3.076.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down 51 cents; Natural Gas was up five cents; Heating Oil was down one cent; and, Gasoline was down slightly.  Additionally, cash prices were lower in New York and New England.

Natural Gas Glossary

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