Friday, September 17, 2010

Crude Oil Falls a Fourth Day Concern U.S. Economy Will Be Slow to Recover

Crude oil fell for a fourth day on speculation that the U.S. economic recovery is slowing, reducing fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil consuming country. Oil slipped as much as 1.2 percent after the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary September index of consumer sentiment fell to 66.6 from 68.9 a month earlier. Enbridge Energy Partners LP obtained government approval to resume sending Canadian oil to refineries in the Midwest on Line 6A. The system will begin operating today, the company said.

“The market really started to tank once the consumer confidence numbers came out,” said Kyle Cooper, a managing director at energy consultant IAF Advisors in Houston. “The economy is the driver of this market right now.” Crude oil for October delivery declined 67 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $73.90 a barrel at 10:15 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil for November settlement fell 36 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $78.12 a barrel on the London based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Oil futures topped $78 a barrel this week following the closure on Sept. 9 of Enbridge’s 466-mile Line 6A. The pipe spilled about 6,100 barrels of oil from a section in Romeoville, Illinois, about 30 miles southwest of Chicago. The 34-inch line runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Griffith, Indiana, and can carry 670,000 barrels a day of crude, equal to more than one- third of Midwest imports. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report today that the pipeline’s closure will keep U.S. crude oil imports at reduced levels in coming weeks.

Lower Inventories
“As the tide turns, we will see lower inventories and shifting sentiment send WTI crude oil prices into a $85-$95 per barrel trading range in coming months,” Goldman said in the report.
“The oil price will remain stuck in a $70 to $80 range,” said Tobias Merath, head of commodity research at Credit Suisse Group AG in Zurich. “At first it looked like the Enbridge repairs would take a long time. Now it seems it will go fairly fast. Markets are very well-supplied and U.S. demand is lackluster.”

Bloomberg reporter Mark Shenk can be reached at

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