Smorgasbord Of Bullish Headlines Pushed Energy Complex Higher

Market TalkFriday, Jun 21 2019
Heavy Selling In Energy Futures

A smorgasbord of bullish headlines has pushed the energy complex higher this week, this morning being no different. Rising tensions with Iran, the last update having the White House call an air strike then cancel, equities reaching record highs on dovish monetary policy, and now a massive explosion and fire at PES’s south Philadelphia refinery has prices rallying to monthly highs.

So far there are no injuries reported as a result of the malfunction which is quite surprising given the sheer size of the explosion. Philadelphia Energy Solution’s complex is the largest of its kind on the East Coast, capable of producing 335mb per day, and NYMEX prices are reacting accordingly. There hasn’t been any physical product trading reported so far this morning but prompt month gasoline futures have rallied over 7.5 cents in early morning trading with diesel futures ‘lagging behind’ and only adding 4 cents.

The three alarm fire is reported to have been contained, no update yet on damage or estimated repair time. Since the issue originated in the complex’s butane vat, the refinery’s downtime might not be as long as one would imagine with an explosion that could be felt in neighboring states.

Prices have pulled back slightly from their highs today but have blown through yet another technical resistance level this week. Both gas and diesel settled higher than their respective 20-day moving averages yesterday and have overtaken their more significant 100-day averages with this morning’s buying. Finishing the week above that level leaves prompt month contracts technically open at add another dime next week. However, bearish fundamentals, especially if this morning’s events turns out to be more bark than bite, could temper buyer enthusiasm.

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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.

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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.

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