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Refined Products

Recap: Early gains in stocks catapulted oil prices off of session lows, only to send them lower later in the day. This seesaw activity took the October WTI just above its 50-day moving average of $48.36. Each attempt to trade above this average has so far failed to gain momentum. October WTI reached a high of $48.42 before paring gains for a settlement of $46.75, up 50 cents on the day. Brent trading was also erratic, with the October contract peaking at $52.46 prior to settling up 18 cents at $50.68.

Rbob futures remained higher as we approach the U.S. Labor Day weekend. This is typically a last hoorah prior to a slack in demand and turnaround season. Rbob for October delivery settled at $1.4371, up 1.19 cents. The October Rbob/WTI crack spread was flat as the WTI outpaced the Rbob. This spot spread settled at $13.6082. October heating oil added 96 points to settle at $1.6188. The October ULSD crack settled at $21.2396, down 19 points.

Fundamental News: Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he favored a parliamentary vote on its nuclear deal reached with world powers and called for sanctions against Iran to be lifted completely rather than suspended.  He said that without a cancellation of sanctions, the deal would be jeopardized.

Meanwhile, Democratic US Senator Cory Booker said he would vote in favor of the nuclear agreement with Iran.  He is the 35th Senator to support the deal.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin told his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro that both countries should combined efforts to support oil prices but did not say how. 

The US Census Bureau reported that US crude oil exports reached 526,000 bpd in July compared with 431,000 bpd in June.  Exports to Canada totaled 492,000 bpd. 

The Kurdistan region's Ministry of Natural Resources said oil exports from northern Iraq fell by about 44,000 bpd in August to an average of 472,832 bpd due to a disruption of the pipeline to Turkey.  In August, Kurdistan transferred 50,935 bpd to SOMO compared with 71,017 bpd the previous month. 

Russia's Rosneft promised to significantly increase its oil supplies to China as it seeks to diversify its energy flows to Asia away from Europe. 

BNP Paribas lowered its 2015 and 2016 forecasts for Brent and WTI crude prices.  It cut its Brent crude price forecast to $56/barrel from $62/barrel for 2015 and to $62/barrel from $76/barrel for 2016.  For WTI, it lowered its 2015 outlook to $51/barrel from $55/barrel and its 2016 forecast to $56/barrel from $70/barrel.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions is still repairing a 45,000 bpd reformer in the Girard Point section of the 335,000 bpd refinery complex following a small fire on Tuesday.  A 200,000 bpd crude unit associated with the reformer is running at slightly reduced rates. 

Phillips 66 plans on completing construction of a temporary cooling water tower on Thursday, allowing the company to run its fluid catalytic cracking units at normal rates. 

Maintenance work could shut in about 300,000 bpd of diesel production in northwest Europe and the Mediterranean.

Crude production at Syncrude Canada's oil sands operation averaged 308,600 bpd in August, down 5.4% on the month. 

The Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit fell by 7.4% from June to a seasonally adjusted $41.86 billion in July. 

The US Labor Department said the number of initial unemployment claims increased by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 282,000 in the week ending August 29th

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Oct $45.95, down 79 cents

RBOB - Oct $1.4077, down 2.96 cents

ULSD - Oct $1.6077, down 1.12 cents

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Natural Gas

Thursday, September 3rd, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $2.647, level with Wednesday’s closing price of $2.648.  Retreating slightly in the session’s opening minutes, prices soon began a confident ascent to peek above $2.670 ahead of the 10:30AM storage report.  As soon as the bearish report hit the wire, the contract dipped to the intraday low of $2.640 before stabilizing just above the $2.65 mark.  Realizing that the higher than anticipated injection was due in part to a reclassification of base gas to working gas, prices then rose aggressively over the next ninety minutes to peak over $2.720.  Starting the afternoon near the $2.71 mark, the contract grew for the majority of the afternoon, peaking at the intraday high of $2.735 at 1:00PM and again shortly after 2:20PM, as October closed higher on Thursday at $2.725.

The EIA Natural Gas Storage Report published on Thursday showed a 94 BCF injection to storage for the week ended August 28th –above the market estimate of 88 BCF.  A reclassification of base gas to working gas resulted in an increase of working gas stocks of approximately 8 BCF.  Total working gas in storage was reported as 3,193 BCF, 18.4% above this time last year and 4.0% above the five-year average.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down six cents; Natural Gas was down five cents; Heating Oil was flat; and, Gasoline was down a penny.

New York and New England cash prices were lower in across the board.

Natural Gas Glossary

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