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Refined Products

Recap: WTI reversed four days of losses on expectations that crude oil inventories fell 300,000 barrels last week. This overshadowed economic concerns about China, which has been dominating the headlines. The September contract settled at $47.98, up 59 cents. Brent for September delivery settled at $53.30 down 17 cents.

Rbob posted its sixth straight loss with the September contract closing at $1.7484, down 1.82 cents. Heating oil for September delivery slipped 82 points to settle at $1.6122.

Fundamental News BP's chief financial officer said oil prices are expected to remain soft in the short and medium term. 

Cushing stocks are close to reaching its capacity this autumn as inventories are rising, far earlier than expected while refinery maintenance is around the corner.  Cushing stands just 15 million barrels shy of its working limit.  Reaching its storage limits would mean unprecedented shock to the oil markets.  When traders were alarmed earlier this year, the front to second month WTI calendar spread widened to as much as $2.49/barrel.  On Monday, the spread was only 46 cents.  However some argue that Cushing avoiding capacity earlier this year is a testament to how flexible the infrastructure is nationwide, with arbitrage opportunities in the cash market capable of rebalancing oil volumes quickly around the country.  They do not believe the build in Cushing stocks over the past four weeks will continue. 

Oil by rail shipments to California fell by 59% from January to June, according to the California Energy Commission.  California received 140,381 barrels of railed in crude from New Mexico and Wyoming, down from 342,901 barrels or 11,061 bpd from those states as well as Utah in January.

The US Coast Guard reopened a section of the Houston Ship Channel that it closed following a diesel spillage.

A 92,000 bpd fluid catalytic cracking unit at Motiva Enterprises' 238,000 bpd Convent, Louisiana refinery tripped on Monday night due to a malfunction.  The unit was on warm circulation on Tuesday morning and could quickly resume production. 

Plattsreported that distillate exports totaling up to 465,000 metric tons were leaving the US Gulf Coast for Europe over the seven days to Monday.  It is up from about 305,000 metric tons of distillates seen leaving for Europe from the US Gulf Coast the previous week, bringing the total estimated imports for August to 770,000 metric tons so far.  Traders said diesel continued to arrive in Europe in spite of poor trans Atlantic arbitrage economics and reports of a marginally closed arbitrage.

US single family home prices in May increased from the previous year at the same pace as April.  The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas in May gained 4.9% on the year.

The Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence fell to 90.9 in July from a revised 99.8 in June, initially reported as 101.4.  The index stands at its lowest level since September 2014.  The present situation index fell to 107.4 from a revised 110.3 in June.  

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Sep $47.54, down 44 cents

RBOB - Aug  $1.7992, down 40 points

ULSD - Aug $1.5968, down 76 points

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Natural Gas

Monday, July 27th, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $2.788, roughly a penny above Friday’s closing price of $2.776.  Falling to the intraday low of $2.768 at 9:10AM, August quickly reversed direction to tally the intraday high of $2.820 just forty minutes later.  Trading lower over the next hour, the contract found support near $2.800 at 11:00AM and continued along this mark into the early afternoon.  Falling to the $2.790 level shortly after 1:00PM, prices briefly rallied to the $2.80 mark before eventually withdrawing.  August closed higher on Monday at $2.789.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was up 20 cents; Natural Gas was up three cents; and, Heating Oil and Gasoline were down a penny.

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

Natural Gas Glossary

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