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Crude and Heating Oil Extend Two-Year Highs: Oil Products

Crude oil and heating oil extended their two-year highs after the government said U.S. crude supplies fell and the economy grew more than previously estimated in the third quarter. Gasoline climbed to a seven-month high. Ethanol gained.

“Today’s crude numbers were very bullish,” said Andre Julian, chief financial officer and senior market strategist at OpVest Wealth Management in Irvine, California. “The GDP numbers point to extended growth in the U.S.”

Crude Oil

Crude oil for February delivery gained 66 cents, or 0.7 percent, to settle at $90.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest closing price since Oct. 3, 2008. Crude has increased 22 percent in the past year.

Inventories of crude fell 5.33 million barrels last week to 340.7 million, the U.S. Energy Department reported today, more than the 3.4 million-barrel drop predicted by the median estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The Commerce Department said gross domestic product expanded 2.6 percent in the third quarter, up from a previous estimate of 2.5 percent.

Heating Oil

Heating oil for January delivery gained 1.21 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $2.5285 a gallon, the highest settlement since Oct. 3, 2008. Heating oil is traded as a proxy for diesel.

Inventories of distillates slipped 589,000 barrels to 160.7 million. The median analyst estimate was that inventories would be unchanged from the previous week.

The February heating oil crack spread narrowed 19 cents to $16.21 a barrel. The one-year average is $10.63.


Gasoline for January delivery rose 2.6 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $2.4245 a gallon on the Nymex. It was the highest settlement for the front-month contract since May 3.

Inventories rose 2.4 million barrels to 217.2 million, exceeding the gain of 1.5 million predicted by analysts.

The February gasoline crack spread rose 40 cents to $10.61 a barrel. The one-year average is $9.47.


Denatured ethanol for January delivery rose for the 11th day in a row, gaining 2.3 cents, or 1 percent, to $2.79 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade. Futures have advanced 17 percent this year.

Refineries and Transport

Valero Energy Corp. plans to shut a hydrocracker at its Corpus Christi East refinery in Texas for maintenance, according to a filing with state regulators.

Marathon Oil Corp. is planning to perform maintenance at its Robinson, Illinois, refinery in March, two people with knowledge of the work said.

Exxon Mobil Corp. completed the restart of units at its Torrance, California, refinery.

Holly Corp., an independent U.S. refiner, is in the “finishing stages” of turnarounds at its two refineries in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said Neale Hickerson, a company spokesman. The company plans to begin the restart process by the beginning of next week, he said.

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