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Refined Products

Recap:  Already trading higher on the day, oil futures jumped to new highs on a larger than expected draw in U.S. crude oil inventories. However, the jump was short-lived, after traders took a more in depth look at the entire EIA report, which reflected less than expected draws in both gasoline and distillate numbers. Prices reverted to the down side, marking a new low for the day.  Losses were slightly trimmed, with July WTI dropping 11 cents, or 0.21% to settle at $51.36 a barrel, while July Brent slipped 19 cents, or 0.35%, to settle at $53.96 a barrel. Today’s lower settlement is the first in 6 days.

June RBOB fell less than a cent, or 0.5%, to $1.653 a gallon, while June heating oil finished little changed at $1.606 a gallon.

Fundamental News:  A five-country OPEC Monitoring Committee that includes Kuwait, Venezuela, Algeria, Russia and Oman recommended a nine-month extension to the OPEC and non-OPEC output cut agreement during a meeting on Wednesday.  Algeria’s Energy Minister, Noureddine Boutarfa, said nobody is opposed to a nine-month extension.

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister, Khalid al-Falih, reiterated that the country supports a nine-month extension of the OPEC and non-OPEC output cut agreement. 

Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, supports a nine-month extension of the oil agreement.  However, he stated that several options were still being considered by the oil producers.  Russia has cut its output by an average of 310,000 bpd so far in May, over its 300,000 bpd output cut commitment. 

UAE Energy Minister, Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, said his country was ready to support either a six or a nine-month extension to an oil output cut agreement provided that it is supported by a majority.  He said the UAE expected full compliance with any deal reached at the OPEC meeting.

Kuwait’s Oil Minister, Ali Khalifa al-Sabah, said a 12-month extension of the output cut deal is not an option.  He said only a nine-month output extension will be considered at the meeting on Thursday.

According to analysis from BNP Paribas and Energy Aspects, the willingness by Iran’s Oil Minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, to embrace a deal that leaves Iran room to pump about 3.8 million bpd signals the country is already pumping near capacity.  Iran’s Oil Minister said the country has no issue whether OPEC extended its output cut deal to six or nine-months.  He said OPEC will continue its production cuts but there is a debate among members about how long it will continue.  OPEC is expected to agree to extend current cuts by nine months at a Vienna meeting this week.  Iran pumped 3.76 million bpd in April, down slightly from January when it produced 3.8 million bpd.   

IIR reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 353,000 bpd of capacity in the week ending May 26th, increasing available refining capacity by 214,000 bpd from the previous week.  IIR expects offline capacity to fall to 341,000 bpd in the week ending June 2nd. 

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - July  $50.83, down 53 cents

RBOB - June $1.6487, down 46 points

HO - June $1.6042, down 13 points

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Natural Gas

Wednesday, May 24th, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $3.212, slightly below Tuesday’s closing price of $3.219.  Losing ground out of the gate, prices fell to the intraday low of $3.176 by 9:10AM.  Weighing changing weather forecasts and expectations for Thursday’s storage report, the contract rose late into the morning to tally the intraday high of $3.241 at the stroke of noon.  Plotting a gradual downward course for the balance of the day, June closed lower on Wednesday at $3.209.

The EIA Natural Gas Storage Report is due out at 10:30AM today.  The report is expected to show a 68 BCF injection to storage for the week ended May 19th.  This compares to a 71 BCF injection at this time last year and a five-year average injection amount of 90 BCF.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down 60 cents; Natural Gas was up one cent; Heating Oil was down slightly; and, Gasoline was down one cent.  Additionally, cash prices were lower in New York and New England.

Natural Gas Glossary

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