Archive for the ‘Platts analysis’ Category

Canada’s petchem sector looks for expansions on back of domestic feedstock

Prior to the drop in oil prices during the second half of 2014, the shale revolution was putting the US in a position to become less dependent on foreign oil, fueling job creation in the oil and gas industry, and creating a manufacturing renaissance. Many countries attempted to replicate the same success that the US experienced in shale. However, the US and Canada are the only major producers of commercially viable natural gas from shale formations in the world.

While large-scale commercial production of shale gas has not yet been realized in Canada, at least to the degree that the US has attained, many petrochemical companies are exploring the opportunities from the new supply of natural gas liquids derived from shale gas developments in Canada.

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September gloom in store for US ethanol prices?

US ethanol producers are treading water right now with razor-thin margins brought on by low prices, but if historical trends hold up, things could get even uglier in September.

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US crude oil export state of play

On Thursday, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee passed HR 702, which would repeal all limits on US crude exports. The US Energy Information Administration claims that a crude export policy shift would likely have a relatively minimal impact on overall export levels, causing, at most, 1.5 million b/d of crude exports over current levels, but only in the most extreme case the agency looked at.

Still, the policy has ignited a fierce lobbying battle between producers, who claim they need access to the world market to compete in the current low-price environment, and some refiners, who claim a policy change will hinder the domestic refining industry.

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Base metals come to terms with China’s ‘new normal’ in July

In July, base metals faced two dominant headwinds in the form of the Greek debt crisis and the China stock market crash that saw metals test fresh multi-year lows on the London Metal Exchange. This led to a number of investment banks adjusting their short-term and long-term price forecasts as they focused on the likely impact of the rebalancing of the Chinese economy and its projected slower growth — what China’s Premier Li Keqiang has coined the ‘new normal.’

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The changing dynamics of global benzene supply

Benzene is a primary aromatic and the precursor for the C6 value chain, and finds itself at crossroads in relation to the aromatics main outlet of supply. Benzene supply is traditionally dependent on gasoline production out of the refinery and as a co-product of naphtha cracking.

However, massive projections for increased polyethylene terephthalate demand in Asia led to a wave of investments in paraxylene production units and resulted in growth of benzene production as a by-product from these units. Also, with major refinery expansions in the Middle East (especially processing heavier crude, which yields more benzene) and Asia, as well as move to lighter cracking for ethylene production in the US and the Middle East, benzene supply dynamics globally have changed. Benzene is no longer just dictated by the traditional means of supply.

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Holy Carbon: Does the Pope’s view matter in the fight against climate change?

Pope Francis is set to weigh in on the climate change debate in what has already caused a considerable buzz in the media, by equal measure prompting cheers from the green lobby and irritation among climate skeptics, even before the message has been released.

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The dollar’s impact on US polyethylene

The US dollar has fallen sharply over the past few months following an impressive push upward for nearly a year. This reversal has helped propel crude prices upward and, in turn, petrochemical prices — a relationship that occurs because crude and many other commodities are priced in US dollars. A weaker dollar means you need more of them to buy a barrel of crude, a bushel of wheat or a bag of polyethylene.

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Canadian oil producers need to learn lessons from Keystone XL saga: New Frontiers

Canada is pursuing projects that will have a major impact not only on national production, but on the North American oil landscape as a whole, as Ashok Dutta explains in New Frontiers, this week’s Oilgram News column.

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Builds to US oil stocks slow — at least for this week: EIA analysis

US commercial crude oil stocks rose 1.294 million barrels during the week ended April 10, marking the smallest build over the last 14 weeks, according to the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration.

Stocks now total 483.687 million barrels, and production and imports also fell during the week. For more information, including the refinery utilization rate, you can read the full Platts analysis here.

US crude build not seen since 2001 shakes up prices: EIA analysis

US commercial crude oil stocks lifted to 482.393 million barrels for the week ended April 3 after adding 10.949 million barrels, the largest weekly build since 2001, according to the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration.

Even before the bearish data came out, NYMEX crude oil futures were trading in the red this morning, but the front-month contract dipped as low as $51.46/b after the news, falling $2.52/b. To read the full Platts analysis of the data, click here.