The oil patch is rallying today being led by refined products. This is due to the fact that Hurricane Sally has left a trail of “catastrophic” rainfall in Alabama earlier this week and is now barreling through the Carolinas and is hindering supply at petroleum terminals.
The most recent WTI drop of 2.9% is the largest in a month. Supply versus demand continues to be a curious topic that is the main driver of the current crude oil situation. Oversupply of crude oil in 2020 continues as just in the past few days in the North Sea there are a combined 12 cargoes that have yet to find a buyer suggesting slow demand is taking place in the region.
Prices in the oil sector are under pressure today prompted by a gigantic build in distillate inventories last week as reported in today’s Department of Energy (DOE) petroleum report.
Over the past few months, there has been a lot of negativity in the global fuels market. The price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic are at the top of the list when it comes to driving crude oil prices to historic lows. However, recently there has been some small and simple actions that show signs of turnaround in a positive direction in the crude market. The Texas Railroad commission, production cuts, relaxing of local travel restrictions, and construction resuming, will all have a positive influence on the oil market.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler recently said that he anticipates the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards rule to be finalized within the next month or two. The primary questions to answer at this point are, what does the rule seek to accomplish and how does this affect heavy-duty trucks?
As the end of this week winds down and people prepare for the holidays next week, light liquidity will most likely be the name of the game in our energy markets. Light liquidity means trading volume is lower than normal which is to be expected during this time of year. Therefore, the bid/ask spreads are wider. Meaning that if the computer-driven trading houses decide to either buy or sell a lot of volume, the market can move violently in one direction rather quickly. What does this mean for our industry? This means that our customers can be very opportunistic especially if we see a retracement in prices after this rally we’ve seen since the beginning of December.
As everyone woke up to the first punch of winter weather this morning, as a fuel distributor, it certainly makes us think about the low level of diesel inventories in PADD 1 and the potential impact it will have on our customers this winter.
Analysts are getting increasingly worried that the refining industry will not be prepared in time to meet the lower sulfur regulation under the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) set to begin January 1, 2020 and will subsequently increase diesel prices in relation to crude oil.
According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the cost of profitably drilling a shale oil well in the US has fallen to a modern low of $50 per barrel, likely ensuring the growth of the onshore shale industry for years to come. The decrease reflects many factors including softer demand from refineries and concerns about the US-China trade war’s impact on global economic demand. The US oil benchmark is currently hovering near $63 per barrel. Cost reductions and increasing production should stop crude oil prices from rising to high.
On April 3 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill which will increase the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes for the state. Starting on July 1st the state tax on diesel fuel will increase by 19 cents to a total of 47 cents per gallon. The 67% increase will bump Ohio to the 6th highest diesel fuel tax rate behind only California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Indiana, and New Jersey. The tax on gasoline will be increased by 10.5 cents per gallon to a total of 38.5 cents per gallon. Ohio’s gasoline tax will remain lower than Pennsylvania and Indiana, but will be higher than its neighboring states, Kentucky, West Virginia and Michigan.