Archive for the ‘Platts analysis’ Category

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.

Petchem markets uncertain after increase of crude oil volatility

Global crude markets have been highly unstable over the past nine months as market participants wrestle with a deluge of information. That stack of information includes increasing North American production, lower global demand rates, a stronger dollar and a changing OPEC stance. As a result, volatility — historic and implied — is at the highest level in years. The inherent relationship between crude and petrochemical prices is invariably creating more volatility in petrochemical markets, and the higher level of uncertainty will certainly lead to more evaluation of project feasibility.

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Crude oil stocks at Cushing, Okla., continue growing: EIA analysis

Total US commercial crude oil stocks built for the 12th consecutive week, rising 4.766 million barrels for the week ended March 27, according to data released today by the US Energy Information Administration.

Stocks now top more than 471 million barrels, and stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, increased 2.63 million barrels to 58.94 million barrels. Since mid-June 2014, when NYMEX crude oil future prices began falling, production has decreased on a weekly basis only five times, indicating that the wave of US oil is no joke. (The terrible April Fools’ allusion was required.) To read the full Platts analysis — with a promise of no more terrible jokes — click here.

US commercial crude stocks continue build: EIA analysis

While US crude oil production was almost flat for the week ended March 20, total commercial stocks increased 8.170 million barrels to 466.678 million barrels, according to data released today from the US Energy Information Administration.

Refineries were slightly more active during the week, with the utilization rate increasing 0.9 percentage point to 89% of operable capacity. Maintenance season has kept utilization rate under 90% since January 16, with the exception of one week. To read a total breakdown of the latest EIA data, see the Platts analysis here.