Energy prices continued to fall Nov. 28 as traders in the US returned from the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend to find warm weather still blanketing the northeastern part of the country.

Energy prices continued to fall Nov. 28 as traders in the US returned from the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend to find warm weather still blanketing the northeastern part of the country.

However, a severe winter storm was reported headed toward the Great Lakes Nov. 29 after dumping snow from the Texas Panhandle to North Dakota and closing hundreds of miles of highways across the Midwest.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Delta—the 25th named storm of the record 2005 Atlantic hurricane season—gained strength in the central Atlantic over the weekend but is expected to weaken before reaching the Canary Islands. Another tropical storm, Epsilon, formed over the central Atlantic on Nov. 29, the day before the official end of the June 1-Nov. 30 hurricane season. But December storms are still possible if the ocean water remains warm.

The US Minerals Management Service said Nov. 28 that crews still have not returned to 1 drilling rig and 133 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico that were evacuated ahead of hurricanes in August and September. Gulf production of 594,421 b/d of crude and 3.06 bcfd of natural gas remain shut in as a result of those storms. Cumulative production lost since Aug. 26 when Hurricane Katrina threatened the central gulf now totals 94.8 million bbl of crude and 489.4 bcf of natural gas. That’s equivalent to 17.3% of the crude and 13.4% of the natural gas normally produced in a year from those waters.

Energy prices

The new front-month January contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes fell by $ 1.35 to $ 57.36/bbl Nov. 28 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The February contract lost $ 1.26 to $ 57.99/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., declined by $ 1.10 to $ 57.37/bbl. Heating oil for December delivery fell to a new 4-month low, down by 5.36¢ to $ 1.64/gal on NYMEX. ‘Demand for heating oil nationwide is expected to be about 20% below normal this week,’ said analysts at Enerfax Daily.

The December gasoline contact dropped 3.94¢ to $ 1.42/gal. The expiring December natural gas contract plunged by 44¢ to $ 11.18/MMbtu on NYMEX. The January natural gas contract lost 41.6¢ to $ 11.63/gal, ‘as traders saw very little near-term cold weather to sustain prices,’ Enerfax analysts said.

In London, the January contract for North Sea Brent crude slipped by 13¢ to $ 54.88/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. However, gas oil for December inched up by 50¢ to $ 494.25/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 11 benchmark crudes lost 38¢ to $ 50.04/bbl on Nov. 28.

Source : ogj.pennnet.com