Energy Futures Are Taking A Breather After Another Strong Day Wednesday

Market TalkThursday, Jan 13 2022
Pivotal Week For Price Action

Energy futures are taking a breather after another strong day Wednesday that saw diesel prices trade north of $2.61 for the first time since October 2014, while WTI briefly traded north of $83 as US crude oil inventories dropped to a 3 year low. For a 2nd straight week, large builds in refined product inventories did little to slow the rally, as the market continues to act like the winter demand doldrums driving those increased stocks will soon be put in the rearview mirror. 

Want a very simple reason diesel prices are trading at 7 year highs? Total US Diesel stocks started the year 10 million barrels below where they started the year in 2020, 20 million barrels lower than their 5 year seasonal average, and 35 million barrels below where they started off a year ago. You’d never guess that diesel stocks nationwide are far below average by looking at rack prices across most of the Gulf Coast, Midwest and Southwestern US as spot/rack spreads have collapsed, and in several cases are offered at multi-year lows as regional suppliers struggle to deal with a sudden glut of supply in markets that were extremely tight just 2 months ago.

RINs saw their first large sell-off in nearly 6 weeks after yet another mysterious Reuters exclusive citing unnamed sources suggesting the White House is considering yet another change to RVOs as pressure builds over higher fuel prices, and the environmental arguments for more ethanol continue to wane.

Rain, Snow or Ice?  That’s the big question for millions of people along the east coast heading into the weekend with another winter storm sweeping across a large portion of the country.   The difference in a few degrees may make a huge difference between an inconvenient rain storm and a crippling shut down as cold temperatures follow close behind the precipitation.  There aren’t many refineries in the current path of the storm, but we are likely to see terminal disruptions from Tennessee to the Carolinas as several markets that aren’t used to seeing extended temperatures below freezing are forecast to do so over the next few days.

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk, including all charts from the Weekly DOE Report.

Market Talk Update 1.13.22

News & Views

View All
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkWednesday, Jun 7 2023

Energy Prices Fluctuate: Chinese Imports Surge, Saudi Arabia Cuts Output and Buys Golf

Energy prices continue their back-and-forth trading, starting Wednesday’s session with modest gains, after a round of selling Tuesday wiped out the Saudi output cut bounce. 

A surge in China’s imports of crude oil and natural gas seem to be the catalyst for the early move higher, even though weak export activity from the world’s largest fuel buyer suggests the global economy is still struggling. 

New tactic?  Saudi Arabia’s plan to voluntarily cut oil production by another 1 million barrels/day failed to sustain a rally in oil prices to start the week, so they bought the PGA tour

The EIA’s monthly Short Term Energy Outlook raised its price forecast for oil, citing the Saudi cuts, and OPEC’s commitment to extend current production restrictions through 2024. The increase in prices comes despite reducing the forecast for US fuel consumption, as GDP growth projections continue to decline from previous estimates. 

The report included a special article on diesel consumption, and its changing relationship with economic activity that does a good job of explaining why diesel prices are $2/gallon cheaper today than they were a year ago.   

The API reported healthy builds in refined product inventories last week, with distillates up 4.5 million barrels while gasoline stocks were up 2.4 million barrels in the wake of Memorial Day. Crude inventories declined by 1.7 million barrels on the week. The DOE’s weekly report is due out at its normal time this morning. 

We’re still waiting on the EPA’s final ruling on the Renewable Fuel Standard for the next few years, which is due a week from today, but another Reuters article suggests that eRINs will not be included in this round of making up the rules.

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk.

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkTuesday, Jun 6 2023

Energy Prices Retreat, Global Demand Concerns Loom

So much for that rally. Energy prices have given back all of the gains made following Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it would voluntarily withhold another 1 million barrels/day of oil production starting in July. The pullback appears to be rooted in the ongoing concerns over global demand after a soft PMI report for May while markets start to focus on what the FED will do at its FOMC meeting next week.

The lack of follow through to the upside leaves petroleum futures stuck in neutral technical territory, and since the top end of the recent trading range didn’t break, it seems likely we could see another test of the lower end of the range in the near future.  

RIN prices have dropped sharply in the past few sessions, with traders apparently not waiting on the EPA’s final RFS ruling – due in a week – to liquidate positions. D6 values dropped to their lowest levels in a year Monday, while D4 values hit a 15-month low. In unrelated news, the DOE’s attempt to turn seaweed into biofuels has run into a whale problem.  

Valero reported a process leak at its Three Rivers TX refinery that lasted a fully 24 hours.  That’s the latest in a string of upsets for south Texas refineries over the past month that have kept supplies from San Antonio, Austin and DFW tighter than normal. Citgo Corpus Christi also reported an upset over the weekend at a sulfur recovery unit. Several Corpus facilities have been reporting issues since widespread power outages knocked all of the local plants offline last month.  

Meanwhile, the Marathon Galveston Bay (FKA Texas City) refinery had another issue over the weekend as an oil movement line was found to be leaking underground but does not appear to have impacted refining operations at the facility. Gulf Coast traders don’t seem concerned by any of the latest refinery issues, with basis values holding steady to start the week.

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk.