Memorial Day Gasoline And Diesel Prices Down From Last Years Record Setting Levels

Market TalkFriday, May 26 2023
Pivotal Week For Price Action

Energy prices are ticking modestly higher after a big Thursday sell-off wiped out most of the gains made earlier in the week as a pair of disagreements continues to keep traders guessing. 

Drivers heading out for Memorial Day weekend are enjoying retail gasoline prices that are more than $1.20/gallon less than last year’s record setting levels on average, thanks to the world’s supply network adjusting to the Russian supply shock. The year-on-year price drop is even more dramatic for diesel prices that are down $1.65/gallon on average, thanks to the “freight recession” pushing demand sharply lower.

Deal or no deal?  The political theatre continues in Washington with both sides preparing to declare victory in the debt debate, while dragging out the negotiations to the last minute in an effort to boost ratings.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are sending mixed messages on oil production quotas a week before the next OPEC & Friends meeting. This isn’t exactly new as Russia has been violating its official quotas for some time (which isn’t too surprising considering these are the same people that invaded Ukraine twice in the past decade) but the big question is whether or not the Saudi’s decide to teach them a lesson and turn this into another price war as they did in 2014 and 2020.   

NOAA predicted a “near normal” hurricane season in the Atlantic this year, with an El Nino pattern developing which will act as a counterbalance to the high-water temps in the Atlantic to some degree.  The forecast does warn that conditions for tropical waves forming off of the coast of Africa are favorable, which is where several of the biggest storms of all time have formed.  The outlook ends with its annual warning that despite the prediction for less activity this year than we’ve seen the past 3 years, it still only takes 1 storm to cause major disruptions. 

Pemex auditors are apparently admitting that the new 340,000 barrel/day refinery that had a grand opening last year was still not ready to produce refined products, and that the most recent target of July 2023 “was not feasible”. 

The Dallas FED published a look at the rapid growth at the busiest energy export port in the US this week, and it’s not the one you think it is

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk.

Market Talk Update 05.26.2023

News & Views

View All
Market Talk Updates - Social Header
Market TalkFriday, Jul 19 2024

Summertime-Friday-Apathy Trade Influencing Energy Markets

Energy markets are treading water to start the day as the Summertime-Friday-Apathy trade seems to be influencing markets around the world in the early going. RBOB futures are trying for a 3rd straight day of gains to wipe out the losses we saw to start the week, while ULSD futures continue to look like the weak link, trading lower for a 2nd day and down nearly 3 cents for the week.

Bad to worse: Exxon’s Joliet refinery remains offline with reports that repairs may take through the end of the month. On top of that long delay in restoring power to the facility, ENT reported this morning that the facility has leaked hydrogen fluoride acid gas, which is a dangerous and controversial chemical used in alkylation units. Chicago basis values continue to rally because of the extended downtime, with RBOB differentials approaching a 50-cent premium to futures, which sets wholesale prices just below the $3 mark, while ULSD has gone from the weakest in the country a month ago to the strongest today. In a sign of how soft the diesel market is over most of the US, however, the premium commanded in a distressed market is still only 2 cents above prompt futures.

The 135mb Calcasieu Refinery near Lake Charles LA has been taken offline this morning after a nearby power substation went out, and early reports suggest repairs will take about a week. There is no word yet if that power substation issue has any impacts on the nearby Citgo Lake Charles or P66 Westlake refineries.

Two tanker ships collided and caught fire off the coast of Singapore this morning. One ship was a VLCC which is the largest tanker in the world capable of carrying around 2 million barrels. The other was a smaller ship carrying “only” 300,000 barrels (roughly 12 million gallons) of naphtha. The area is known for vessels in the “dark fleet” swapping products offshore to avoid sanctions, so a collision isn’t too surprising as the vessels regularly come alongside one another, and this shouldn’t disrupt other ships from transiting the area.

That’s (not) a surprise: European auditors have determined the bloc’s green hydrogen goals are unattainable despite billions of dollars of investment, and are based on “political will” rather than analysis. Also (not) surprising, the ambitious plans to build a “next-gen” hydrogen-powered refinery near Tulsa have been delayed.

Click here to download a PDF of Today's TACenergy Market Talk.

Market Talk Updates - Social Header
Market TalkThursday, Jul 18 2024

Refined Products Stanch Bleeding Despite Inventory Builds And Demand Slump

Refined products are trading slightly lower to start Thursday after they stopped the bleeding in Wednesday’s session, bouncing more than 2 cents on the day for both RBOB and ULSD, despite healthy inventory builds reported by the DOE along with a large slump in gasoline demand.

Refinery runs are still above average across the board but were pulled in PADD 3 due to the short-term impacts of Beryl. The Gulf Coast region is still outpacing the previous two years and sitting at the top end of its 5-year range as refiners in the region play an interesting game of chicken with margins, betting that someone else’s facility will end up being forced to cut rates before theirs.

Speaking of which, Exxon Joliet was reportedly still offline for a 3rd straight day following weekend thunderstorms that disrupted power to the area. Chicago RBOB basis jumped by another dime during Wednesday’s session as a result of that downtime. Still, that move is fairly pedestrian (so far) in comparison to some of the wild swings we’ve come to expect from the Windy City. IIR via Reuters reports that the facility will be offline for a week.

LA CARBOB differentials are moving in the opposite direction meanwhile as some unlucky seller(s) appear to be stuck long and wrong as gasoline stocks in PADD 5 reach their highest level since February, and held above the 5-year seasonal range for a 4th consecutive week. The 30-cent discount to August RBOB marks the biggest discount to futures since 2022.

The EIA Wednesday also highlighted its forecast for rapid growth in “Other” biofuels production like SAF and Renewable Naptha and Propane, as those producers capable of making SAF instead of RD can add an additional $.75/gallon of federal credits when the Clean Fuels Producer’s Credit takes hold next year. The agency doesn’t break out the products between the various “Other” renewable fuels, but the total projected output of 50 mb/day would amount to roughly 2% of total Jet Fuel production if it was all turned to SAF, which of course it won’t as the other products come along for the ride similar to traditional refining processes.

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkWednesday, Jul 17 2024

Week 28 - US DOE Inventory Recap