Posts Tagged ‘refining’

The Oil Big Five: Unleash the Kalavrvta!

It can often feel as though many of the big issues or trends in the oil industry are happening on a level unseen by the general public. July, though, brought some big news stories straight to the mainstream media and a wider audience, and these were developments our oil editors and analysts at Platts were watching closely.

Welcome to the latest iteration of The Oil Big Five, when we ask our Platts oil insiders what they believe are the biggest trends or issues in the global oil industry. These are topics we spent a lot of time researching, writing about and analyzing in July, as well as issues we’re keeping an eye on for August.

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How can refineries run at more than 100%?

It’s a common cliché, the kind of thing that could be on a classroom poster: Give it 110%. Frequently said by athletes and business professionals alike, the sentiment sometimes causes others to wonder how it’s possible to give more than 100%.

That question may have come up again when the US Energy Information Administration Midwest (PADD II) refinery utilization rates greater than 100%, in the week ending in July 11.

In the week ending in July 25, EIA data showed the Midwest refinery utilization rate was 97.4%, down from two weeks ago’s all-time recorded high of 100.3%.

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The Oil Big Five: Your comments include Iraq, Africa, refining, and OPEC

You’ve read about the big topics our Platts experts think are most interesting for July, and now we want to turn our attention to our readers.

In our monthly The Oil Big Five feature, we poll our global oil experts for what they consider the most pressing or interesting aspects of the oil industry at the moment. We follow each post by rounding up some of the comments, and below you can see (in no particular order) some of the reactions we had from our readers, both on the blog as well as on social media.

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The Oil Big Five: Is anyone surprised that Iraq tops our list?

Welcome to The Oil Big Five for July 2014, where we list the big issues that are keeping our Platts oil experts busy around the globe. You can find our last posting here, which had the problem of not posting comments for a short time when it first went up. We really appreciate everyone who commented on the blog once it was fixed, though, as well as those who sent us feedback on Twitter. The latest round-up of reader comments can be found here, and be sure to comment again for the follow-up to this post.

Here are the biggest oil issues or trends that our editors and experts nominated to be a part of the post this month. Read the rest of this entry »

Abundant shale production also yields potential supply pinch for aromatics

The US petrochemical industry might be buzzing about all the cheap ethylene it can now make thanks to inexpensive ethane from shale gas plays. And while that certainly is helping position US polymer producers nicely in the global marketplace, there is another side to the shale coin.

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Refinery change leaves Louisiana boaters high and dry in gasoline search

The ExxonMobil-operated Chalmette Refinery will no longer distribute ethanol-free gas from the rack, a move that is making it more difficult for Louisiana boaters to find compatible fuel for their boats.

In early May, the Chalmette Refinery in St. Bernard Parish announced that it would no longer distribute ethanol-free (conventional) gasoline to the local rack. The 200,700 b/d refinery had previously been the largest resource of ethanol-free gasoline for the area, with many area businesses purchasing fuel from the rack, a local distribution terminal. ExxonMobil, the operator and co-owner of the refinery with PDVSA, continues to sell to the commercial market, but acknowledges that the local market is affected by the change at the rack. The decision was pushed through in an effort to “better comply with the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standards,” said Patrick Trahan, a spokesman for the refinery.

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Tom O’Malley, Harold Hamm, oil woes in the Middle East, Russian benchmarks…all in one day

A few observations from day one of the Platts Global Crude Oil Summit in London:

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When is energy pro-union? When gasoline buyers form a co-op

I was slowing down over at the Pricelock energy listings in search of a job posting for a flatbed driver — maybe a Ford, maybe not, who knows? — when something much more interesting caught my eye.

Four cities in New England were looking to buy 1.214 million gallons of 87- and 89-octane gasoline over the next three years.

That’s a serious chunk of change, and enough gasoline to fill 60,000 Crown Vic police cruisers.

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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.

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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.

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