Oil Edges Nearer to $82, Nat Gas Slips

NYMEX crude oil prices rose slightly on Tuesday, gaining 26 cents to close at $81.77 while natural gas prices gave back most of yesterday's gains to settle at $5.64.

Much of the Northern Hemisphere again faced colder-than-normal weather conditions Tuesday, and U.S. crude oil futures continued their ascent albeit at a less robust rate than the previous day.

Tuesday's settlement price for Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) Futures for February 2010 delivery was $81.77, edging upward from $81.51 on Monday. The day-on-day change was considerably more modest than Monday's 2.7% increase, which resulted in the highest settlement price since Oct. 9, 2008.

The February 2010 Henry Hub Natural Gas Futures settlement price moved in the opposite direction Tuesday. After surging more than 5 percent Monday, the natural gas benchmark fell 25 cents to settle at $5.64 per thousand cubic feet on the second trading day of 2010. Despite Tuesday's activity, however, the settlement price remained ahead for the year to date. The settlement price for Dec. 31, 2009, was $5.57.