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THE NEW YORK TIMES: NYMEX Oil Ends Nearly $2 Down on Stock Build View

By REUTERS
Published: February 22, 2006
Filed at 3:23 p.m. ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil futures ended sharply lower for the first time in four sessions on Wednesday as analysts predicted a further increase in already ample petroleum stockpiles in the United States.
Crude for April delivery (CLJ6), the new front-month contract, settled down $1.73, or 2.8 percent, at $61.01 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell as low as $60.52.
Traders said sell stops were triggered in late trading, but a bout of short covering near the close pared losses.
“The markets are bracing for Thursday's DOE reports, with traders cringing since the recent (supply) trends have been bearish,'' said Tim Evans, senior analyst at IFR Energy Services.
March gasoline (HUH6) settled 0.12 cent off at $1.4745 a gallon, recovering much of its losses after falling to the session low of $1.434.
March heating oil (HOH5) ended down 1.43 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $1.6521 a gallon, also cutting losses after dropping to the day's low of $1.64.
In London, April Brent crude (LCOJ6) settled down $1.16, or 1.9 percent, at $60.44 a barrel.
In an expanded Reuters survey, 13 analysts on average estimated that U.S. crude oil and gasoline supplies each rose last week by 1.1 million barrels.
Distillate inventories, which include heating oil, were forecast to drop by 1 million barrels, the poll showed.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official data for the week ended February 17 on Thursday morning, a day later than usual due to Monday's Presidents Day holiday.
NYMEX crude soared $1.45 on Tuesday after militant attacks shut in a fifth of Nigeria's crude supply.

Royal Dutch Shell shut 455,000 barrels per day of output and evacuated hundreds of staff from Nigerian oil fields due to the violence in the oil-producing delta of the African nation, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The rebels, who also hold nine foreign workers captive, said on Tuesday they would continue their attacks and take more hostages.
Ships began moving again along the Houston Ship Channel at noon Wednesday, after dense fog dissipated, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
A two-day halt of vessel traffic along the channel had not affected production at several refineries along the busiest U.S petrochemical waterway, refiners said.
TECHNICALS
Technical support is seen next at $60 for front-month NYMEX April crude. Last week, the contract hit a low of $59.20.
Support for gasoline was pegged at $1.40, with resistance at $1.60.
Heating oil support lies at $1.60, with resistance at $1.70, technical analysts said.
The forward curve for crude remains in contango, with September crude trading at $65 per barrel.

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