Oil Prices Edge Upward

Oil Prices Edge Upward
Positive international trade signals and a dip in rig activity buoyed oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil futures finished higher Monday, buoyed by positive signals on international trade and a decline in the number of active oil rigs.

The April WTI contract price gained 79 cents Monday, settling at $56.59. The U.S. benchmark traded within a range from $55.81 to an even $57.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil for May delivery added 60 cents, ending the day at $65.67.

“WTI was up today about one percent, driven by further drops in the U.S. rig count last week and what might be positive signs coming out of the U.S./China trade talks,” Tom McNulty, Houston-based managing director of Great American Group, told Rigzone. “However, there are still compelling reasons why this rally might not be sustainable, including news that there will be crude oil sales out of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the next few weeks.”

McNulty added that the domestic number of drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells remains high – another factor that can temper bullish sentiment.

The “DUCs number is still well over 8,000 in the United States and that represents a lot of latent potential production,” McNulty explained.

Reformulated gasoline (RBOB) futures also moved upward Monday. The April RBOB contract gained two cents to settle at $1.75 per gallon.

The Henry Hub natural gas contract finished slightly lower, however. April gas futures shed two-tenths of one cent, ending the day at $2.86.


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