Posts Tagged ‘refining’

A well-known independent oil company is getting into gas stations…sort of

A lot of integrated oil companies have split up into separate upstream and downstream companies; witness Marathon and ConocoPhillips.

Others have sold their downstream businesses piecemeal; Hess is doing that now.

At the very least, integrated oil companies like ExxonMobil have cut way back or eliminated company-owned gas stations.

But now we have a strange phenomenon: one of the nation’s best-known independent oil producers is going into the retail side of the biz.

We’re talking, of course, about Ewing Oil.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do you want to know an oil refinery secret? Look to Twitter

It’s hard to keep the cat in the bag when you’ve got a few hundred people pulling its tail.

Consider what goes on behind the fence at a refinery. Sure, there’s always flaring, and steam being released, and hard-hatted workers rushing to and fro.

But what’s really up? The companies would rather the public didn’t know the nitty-gritty, mainly for the cause of staying competitive in a business where regulation and a general downdraft in gasoline prices always put considerable pressure on the bottom line.

Read the rest of this entry »

Belarus proves continuing headache in European refined products market

Belarus, with its two refineries, is far from being a giant in the overall European refined products market.

But a ban by the US government on trading with certain companies associated with the Belarussian regime has meant some Western oil majors have refrained from buying refined products from the country for several years now.

What proved a minor headache until recently has now turned into a rather bigger one as Belarus is due to export a lot more products — chiefly ultra low sulfur diesel — over the coming months.

Read the rest of this entry »

The case for exporting crude oil

Looking over the numbers, and knowing the way the North American oil market works, it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that current US crude oil production cannot be sustained unless the Department of Commerce begins to permit exports beyond Canada.

Read the rest of this entry »

Weather freezes flights, but not jet fuel demand in US regions

Where are jet fuel prices most depressed because of the thousands of flight cancellations from major snowstorms and a cold snap that dropped temperatures in the US Midwest and Northeast below those in Antarctica?

Not Chicago, which saw a 5 cents/gallon rise from Christmas to January 7 in the jet fuel differential–the difference between the NYMEX ULSD futures contract and actual physical jet fuel barrels that will be delivered.

Not New York, where the differential spiked 10.8 cents/gallon from December 30 through the first week of 2014.

Not the US Gulf Coast, which produces half the US jet fuel and delivers a healthy chunk of that into both the above markets, and saw a 2.15-cent gain in the differential from Christmas through January 7.

Still guessing? Try sunny and warm Los Angeles.

Read the rest of this entry »

EIA analysis: US crude stocks tumble as refiners limit tax exposure

US crude stocks fell 7 million barrels the week ending December 27, data released Friday by the US Energy Information Administration showed. Crude stock draws this time of year are not uncommon, especially on the US Gulf Coast, where refiners typically run down inventories to limit their tax exposure. Refiners have lifted crude runs, in the process boosting production of distillates. As a result, US distillate stocks jumped 5 million barrels last week. You can see our analysis here.

Read the rest of this entry »

EIA analysis: crude oil stocks are down, products are up

The two sides of the refining equation pulled in separate directions last week, with crude stocks dropping an enormous amount, and products stocks rising. You can see Platts analysis here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Total celebrates in Saudi Arabia while European refining margins plummet

France’s Total this week revealed its European indicator refining margin for the third quarter of 2013 — a shockingly low $1.44/b.

The dire state of European refining is nothing new, but with margins like that it doesn’t seem sustainable for companies to operate in this environment for a prolonged period.

Read the rest of this entry »

Europe’s refiners contemplate charm offensive to stave off sector’s woes

Late September brings to the European region one of the more anticipated events in the Platts oil conference circuit – the European Refining Conference. Now in its 7th year, the circumstances of the last few years have ensured sober debate over the state of the industry, and often focused significant attention on seeking out the silver linings in what remains an unwaveringly harsh environment.

This year, the event has been accompanied by a podcast featuring an interview with incoming CONCAWE president Michel Benezit. As a final question — and against a backdrop where the burden of EU emissions legislation, the diesel v gasoline imbalance, foreign competition and declining oil consumption had dominated the conversation — he was asked what was the greater challenge facing the industry. I was cocky enough to say I thought I knew the answer already, but M. Benezit gave the question due consideration. And his response surprised me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Petrodollars: A lot of smart oil people caught up in problems at a Motiva plant

A big expansion project at the Port Arthur, Texas, refinery owned by Motiva — the Shell-Saudi joint venture — has been far from the success story envisioned by the two partners. In this week’s Oilgram News column Petrodollars, Janet McGurty looks at the problems there.

Read the rest of this entry »