Commodity Corner: Platform Blast Prompts Oil Rally



The October crude oil futures price rallied Thursday after news broke of an explosion on a production platform in the Central Gulf of
Mexico.

Crude oil rose 1.5 percent, or $1.09, settling at $75.02 a barrel. Traders anticipate the platform fire will motivate government officials to become stricter with the deepwater drilling moratorium, leading to an increase in costs and a slowdown in production from the Gulf.

Earlier Thursday, oil received a smaller boost from more optimistic economic reports and a weaker U.S. dollar. The National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator in the housing sector, reported a 5.2-percent increase after falling two months in a row. Also, the U.S. Labor Department announced that the number of seasonally adjusted first-time claims for unemployment
insurance was 472,000 last week -- a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average declined 2,500 to 485,500 from last week's revised average of 488,000.

Crude for October delivery fluctuated between $73.11 and $74.68.

Early gains in the October natural gas futures price were short-lived, and gas ultimately settled 0.3 percent lower at $3.75 per thousand
cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 54 billion cubic feet to approximately 3.1206 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Aug. 27,
according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Natural gas traded from $3.70 to $3.84 Thursday.

Gasoline for October delivery climbed 3 cents, settling at $1.92 a gallon. Gasoline peaked at $1.92 and bottomed out at $1.87.