Commodity Corner: Oil Down 1%; Natural Gas Continues Rally

Although the federal government reported that commercial inventories of crude oil were lower week, October crude oil futures declined by 1% Wednesday.

Oil settled at $76.02, a 72-cent decline from the previous day, thanks in part to a stronger dollar. In its weekly report on the country's petroleum supply, the U.S. Department of Energy stated that commercial crude oil inventories fell by 2.5 million barrels to 357.4 million barrels for the week ending Sept. 10. Year-on-year, however, the latest figure is 24.6 million barrels (7.4%) higher.

In addition, Enbridge on Wednesday confirmed that it had completed repairs to Line 6A of its Lakehead oil pipeline system near Chicago. Lakehead is a vital supply route for Canadian crude to reach U.S. markets, and the closure of 6A has placed upward pressure on oil futures since the leak was reported on September 9. According to media reports, the U.S. Department of Transportation may allow Enbridge to restart the line by this weekend.

Oil traded within a range from $74.66 to $76.65 Wednesday.

Natural gas for October delivery ended the day's trading at the cusp of the $4.00 mark -- $3.995 per thousand cubic feet to be exact. Wednesday's settlement price, a three-cent gain from the previous day, marks the fifth consecutive rally for natural gas.

The front-month natural gas price fluctuated between $3.93 and $4.06 Wednesday.

The price of a gallon of gasoline fell by a penny Wednesday, settling at $1.96 after trading from $1.94 to $1.97.