Crude prices fall as storm threat decreases
The price of crude oil fell Monday, with declines primarily due to fewer concerns that a tropical storm will not hamper oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Prices rose last week on concerns that the storm, now Tropical Storm Alex, might be a threat to drilling and refining activities in and around the Gulf of Mexico.
Although the storm is still expected to strengthen to hurricane status in the next couple of days, it is now not considered likely to cause major interruptions to drilling even though some rigs were evacuated over the weekend as a precaution.
In afternoon trade in New York, August contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were 91 cents lower to $77.95 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude had dropped 74 cents to $77.38 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Nymex July gasoline futures were 3 cents lower to $2.14 per gallon, while July heating oil futures dropped 2 cents to $2.09 per gallon and July natural gas was down 12 cents to $4.74 per million British thermal units.
Despite declines in futures, the retail price of a gallon of gasoline was up slightly in the United States ahead of the upcoming Independence Day holiday.
A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline cost drivers $2.756 at the pump, up a bit overnight, while mid-grade unleaded was at $2.926 per gallon and premium unleaded averaged $3.031 per gallon nationally.
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