07302016Sat
Last update: Sat, 30 Jul 2016 02pm

Fuel and Energy: World

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Oil prices steadied on Friday after touching three-month lows amid a week-long selloff but still finished the month nearly 15 percent lower, with US crude declining the most in a year because of a persistent glut. Slower economic growth and high inventories of crude and refined oil products have driven Brent and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures 20 percent below from their 2016 highs, technically placing them in bear market territory.
US natural gas futures dipped to a one week low on Wednesday on forecasts for less-hot weather over the next two weeks that is expected to trim power demand for the fuel to meet air conditioning use. On its last day as the front month, gas futures for August delivery fell 4.0 cents, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $2.672 per million British thermal units.
Oil prices fell nearly 2 percent on Thursday, hitting three-month lows, after a fresh stock build at the delivery hub for US crude futures added to concerns that producers were pumping more than needed. Surplus barrels of gasoline have already made the glut developing this year more worrisome to some than the crude oversupply of the past two years that had halved prices. US Gulf Coast gasoline stocks hit record highs last week for a July month, while East Coast inventories reached all-time peaks, government data showed on Wednesday.
French energy giant EDF's board approved Thursday the building of a nuclear power station in Britain, a source close to talks said, in a project which critics fear could bankrupt the French utility. EDF's directors had been deeply divided over the planned construction of two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in south-west England for £18 billion (21.4 billion euros, $23.8 billion). In the end, it won backing from 10 members of the board of directors, while seven voted against, the source told AFP.
Royal Dutch Shell's net profit collapsed in the second quarter on low oil prices, weak refining margins and production outages, the British energy giant said Thursday. Net profits sank 71 percent to $1.175 billion in the three months to June, compared with $3.986 billion in the same part of 2015, Shell announced in a results statement. Profit on a current cost-of-supplies (CCS) basis - which strips out changes to the value of its oil and gas inventories - slid 72 percent to $1.045 billion in the reporting period.
Oil prices tumbled 3 percent on Wednesday, with US crude futures hitting three-month lows, as US crude and gasoline stocks surged on weak demand during the peak summer driving season. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude stockpiles soared 1.7 million barrels last week, instead of falling 2.3 million barrels as forecast. Gasoline inventories rose 452,000 barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for a 40,000-barrel increase.
US natural gas futures on Tuesday edged lower on forecasts for less hot weather over the next two weeks that is expected to reduce power demand for the fuel to meet air conditioning use. On its penultimate day as the front month, gas futures for August delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange were down 4.7 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $2.700 per million British thermal units at 8:57 am EDT (1257 GMT). September futures, which will soon be the front-month, were down about 4.4 cents to $2.67.