Commodity Corner: Crude Surges on Supply Disruptions



Light, sweet crude for February passed the $91 mark Tuesday as investors feared closures from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline would disrupt supply.

Oil prices gained $1.86, or 2.1%, settling at $91.11 a during the day's trading. Prices peaked at $91.33 before bottoming out at $88.93.

One of Alaska's major pipelines, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, was shut down Saturday after having discovered a leak at the pumping station. The 800-mile pipeline carries almost 12 percent of U.S. domestic production. According to sources familiar with the operations, the pipeline is expected to restart by the end of the week; but, subzero temperatures could create risks of ice and wax build up, causing new ruptures.

Front-month natural gas futures also rose Tuesday on forecasts of lower temperatures in the Midwest. Also, forecasts predict below-average temperatures in Chicago and Detroit, according to AccuWeather Inc.

Meanwhile, the National Weather forecast reported a 9.7-percent increase in heating demand for natural gas this week. Colder weather increases heating demand for natural gas.

Natural gas ended Tuesday's trading session at $4.48 per thousand cubic feet after fluctuating between $4.34 and $4.49.

Also pressured by the Alaskan pipeline outage, reformulated gasoline blendstock (RBOB), gained 2.41 cents, settling at $2.48 a gallon. The intraday range for gasoline was $2.44 to $2.49 Tuesday.