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Crude, refined products futures tumble on EIA's crude inventory build

HOUSTON, December 16, 2015 (PCW) -- NYMEX crude futures prices were down Wednesday after government figures showed builds in inventories.

As of 11 am CST, January NYMEX WTI was down $1.62/bbl to $35.73, January gasoline fell 1.72 cpg to 122.72 cpg and January diesel shed 1.77 cpg to 129 cpg.

The US Energy Information Administration statistics for the week ending December 11 showed a 4.8 million bbl increase in crude inventories, to 490.7 million. Domestic crude oil production was put at 9.176 million b/d, up 12,000 b/d for the week and up almost 39,000 b/d vs the same period last year.

Imports of crude up were up 291,000 b/d, to 8.3 million b/d. Over the past four weeks, crude imports were unchanged compared to the same period last year.

Total product demand over the past four weeks was put a 20 million b/d, down 0.5% versus the same period last year. US refinery inputs were 16.6 million b/d, down 41,000 bbl.

Gasoline inventories were up 1.7 million bbl, to 219.4 million bbl (“in the upper half of the average range,” per the EIA). Gasoline demand over the past four weeks showed a 0.7% increase compared to the same time last year to 9.2 million bbl/day.

Distillate stocks were up 2.6 million bbl, to 152 million bbl (“in the upper half of the average range,” per the EIA). Distillate demand over the past four weeks was down 8.2% to 3.5 million b/d compared to the same period last year. It has been a warm end of the year so far, which affects heating oil demand.

Inputs of crude oil nationwide to refineries were lower by 1.2% on the week, at 91.3% of capacity. In the Gulf Coast (PADD III), runs were also down 0.8%, to 93.7%.

Overall, the increase in crude and the lack of diesel demand are the telling features of the market. Diesel is being hurt by increased competition overseas, which is affecting exports. -- Robert Sharp