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Refined Products

Recap: Oil prices plunged for the fifth straight week, with July posting the largest monthly drop since 2008. Weighing on prices was an increase in the number of operating oil rigs in the U.S, continued production in the Middle East and an overall global supply glut. Spot month WTI fell 17 percent during the month of July, while the front month for Brent slipped 13.4 percent during the same time frame. WTI finished the week at $47.12, the lowest settlement since the week of March 16, 2015. September Brent posted its lowest weekly settlement since the week of January 19, 2015.

Rbob slipped to a four month low, with the September contract trading as low at $1.7268 before paring losses to finish the week at $1.7720, down from $1.8282 last week. Heating oil fell to its lowest level in six months, reaching $1.5779 before trimming losses to settle at $1.5889, down from $1.8899 last week.

Fundamental News  EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said the European Union should start high level talks with Iran on energy and trade by the beginning of 2016.  She met with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif this week to discuss implementation of the nuclear agreement.  Iran's Foreign Minister said the talks had opened the way for talks with the EU on energy cooperation, human rights, confronting terrorism and regional issues.  The European Commission expects the nuclear deal to take effect towards the end of the year.

A diplomatic source said the UN's IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano is "positively considering" a US Senate invitation to speak about the agency's monitoring role in Iran following the country's deal with world powers on curbing its nuclear activity. 

Commerzbank's head of commodities research said OPEC must eventually cut back on production to avoid much lower oil prices.

IIR reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 268,000 bpd of capacity in the week ending July 31st, down 134,000 bpd on the previous week.  IIR expects offline capacity to fall to 172,000 bpd in the week ending August 7th

According to Reuters, OPEC's oil production in July increased to 32.01 million bpd from a revised 31.87 million bpd in June. 

Baker Hughes reported the number of US rigs drilling for oil increased by 5 to 664 in the week ending July 31st.  It is down 909 compared with a year ago. 

The University of Michigan's final July reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 93.1 from 96.1 in June.  It was lower than the survey's preliminary reading of 93.3. 

US labor costs in the second quarter recorded their smallest increase in 33 years amid gains in the private sector.  The Labor Department reported that the Employment Cost Index increased 0.2%in the second quarter.

Euro zone inflation was unchanged in July as a further decline in energy prices negated the impact of more expensive industrial goods and services.  According to the European Union's statistics office Eurostat, the consumer prices in the euro zone increased 0.2% year on year in July.  The core inflation was up 0.9% from 0.8% in June.  Meanwhile, Eurostat also reported that the euro zone unemployment was 11.1% for the third consecutive month in June, with the lowest rate of 4.7% in Germany.  The highest of 25.6% was in Greece. 

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras confirmed he authorized his former finance minister to prepare contingency plans in case the country was forced to leave the euro, calling it the obligation of a responsible government. 

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Sep $46.27, down 84 cents

RBOB - Sep  $1.5326, down 3.95 cents

ULSD - Sep $1.5617, down 2.72 cents

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Natural Gas

Friday, July 31st, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $2.774, slightly above Thursday’s closing price of $2.768.  Trading lower as soon as the market opened, a brief dip below $2.760 was fully recovered by 9:30AM, as prices peaked at the intraday high of $2.777.  Prices cascaded lower for the balance of the morning, until finding support near $2.725 at 11:40AM.  Ascending slightly over the next hour to $2.735, September once again toppled, falling two cents before drifting sideways into 2:30PM.  September closed lower on Friday at $2.716.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down 74 cents; Natural Gas was up six cents; and, Heating Oil and Gasoline were down three cents.

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

Natural Gas Glossary

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