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Refined Products

Recap: The oil market posted an inside trading day on Friday as the market failed to breach its previous trading range.  The market, which posted a high of $53.17, was supported overnight by strong Chinese crude imports, which increased by 14% in 2016 to 381.01 million metric tons or 7.65 million bpd.  However, the crude market's gains were limited by concerns over China's economic health.  China's overall exports in 2016 fell by 7.7%.  The export decline was the second annual decline in a row and the worst since the depths of the global crisis in 2009.  The market erased its gains and sold off to a low of $52.27 by mid-morning.  The market later retraced some of its losses and settled in sideways trading range during the remainder of the session. February WTI settled down 64 cents at $52.37, while March Brent settled down 56 cents at $55.45.  Meanwhile, the product markets were mixed, with the heating oil market settling down 2.42 cents at $1.6514 and the RBOB market settling up 9 points at $1.6117. 

Fundamental News:
  OPEC Secretary-General, Mohammed Barkindo, said he was confident oil producers would observe an agreement under which OPEC and non-OPEC producers have agreed to lower their oil output in order to support prices.  He stated that oil price volatility is here to stay. 

The Executive Director of the IEA, Fatih Birol, said shale output is set to increase if crude prices remain at $55-$60/barrel. 

Baker Hughes reported that the number of rigs drilling for oil in the US fell by 7 to 522 in the week ending January 13th. 

Oil Movements reported that Middle East shipments will fall by 480,000 bpd to 17.36 million bpd in the four weeks ending January 28th.  Total OPEC shipments will fall by 110,000 bpd to 24.14 million bpd compared with the period ending December 31st. 

Venezuela's PDVSA projects oil production will remain near 23-year lows in 2017.  PDVSA saw production fall by nearly 10% in 2016 due to an unraveling economy and low oil prices.  This year, PDVSA sees production at 2.501 million bpd, an increase of 5,000 from 2.496 million bpd for the first 11 months of the year. 

Iraq's OPEC Governor, Falah Al-Amri, said the country plans to cut its southern oil exports to 3.1-3.15 million bpd in January from 3.51 million bpd in December.  He said Iraq's oil exports stand at 3.077 million bpd.   

Tanker tracking for the first 11 days of January shows Iraqi crude exports down about 350,000 bpd from the average December level.  However, tankers are still loading in line with the program, which has the highest flow since October 2015. 

Kazakhstan may not be able to extend its commitment to helping OPEC cut global oil supply into the second half because its new field will increase its production.  The Kashagan field, which started exporting in October, is set to produce 370,000 bpd by the end of the year.  It is 190,000 bpd more than the government forecast last month.

British Colombia's decision to allow Kinder Morgan to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain Pipeline will allow more crude from Canada's oil sands to reach Asia.  It will increase its capacity to 890,000 bpd from the current 300,000 bpd. 

The EPA announced a final determination that it would keep future targets calling for auto-makers to sell light vehicles averaging 54.5 miles per gallon or 40 mpg in real-world driving, by 2025.  The final decision faces intense resistance from auto companies, who are expected to lobby President-elect Donald Trump's administration for some relief from Friday's decision.

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Feb $52.28, down 9 cents

RBOB - Feb $1.6121, up 4 points

HO - Feb $1.6522, up 8 points 

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Natural Gas

Friday, January 13th, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $3.401, nearly two cents above Thursday’s closing price of $3.386.  Initially peaking at the intraday high of $3.435 as markets opened, prices quickly reversed direction as the following two hours witnessed steady losses.  Marking the intraday low of $3.359 at 11:00AM, the contract then reclaimed the $3.42 mark ahead of noon and stabilized to finish out the day, as February closed higher on Friday at $3.419.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down nine cents; Natural Gas was up five cents; Heating Oil was up slightly; and, Gasoline was down slightly.  Additionally, cash prices were higher in New York and New England.

Natural Gas Glossary

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