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Natural Gas Jumps as WTI Inches Closer to $50 on Monday

Domestic crude oil prices settled flat but slightly higher on Monday after posting a 5% gain last week, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, October West Texas Intermediate crude tacked on 2 cents, or less than 0.5%, to settle at $49.91 a barrel. The October contract expires at Wednesday’s settlement.

November Brent crude, the global benchmark, lost 14 cents, or 0.3%, to $55.48 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange.

“There’s a strong tug of war going on,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at fuel-price tracker GasBuddy. “On one side, the rig count fell to its lowest since June. The other is oil inventories continue rising because of [Hurricane] Harvey’s havoc on Gulf refiners.”

There’s also resistance building at $50 a barrel for WTI, he said. “A rut is being worn in the longer it can’t break $50.”

On Monday, a report from the Energy Information Administration showed expectations for a monthly increase of 79,000 barrels a day in October output from seven major U.S. crude oil shale plays, to 6.083 million barrels a day. The largest increase—55,000 barrels a day—is expected from the Permian Basin in Texas.

Meanwhile, October natural gas rose 12.2 cents, or 4%, to settle at $3.146 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.