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NGLs Week is PetroChem Wire's comprehensive summary of price trends, upstream and downstream costs, operations news and supply/demand forecasts. The report contains everything you'll need to understand what's happening in the NGL markets.

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POST DOE WRAP: NYMEX mixed after crude stock draw

HOUSTON, December 28, 2017 (PCW) -- NYMEX crude and products futures were mixed early Wednesday after government figures again showed a decrease in crude stocks. Crude and gasoline fell, but distillates rose.

Domestic crude oil production remains at healthy levels and crude exports are very strong; gasoline stocks have increased to above pre-Harvey levels; distillates are very low vs. last year. Twenty percent of the distillate market is heating oil, still a popular choice for homes, especially those unable to access natural gas in the Northeast.

As of 10:28 am CST, February NYMEX WTI was off $0.33/bbl at $59.64/bbl; February gasoline fell 0.69 cpg to 178.84 cpg; and February diesel increased 0.52 cpg to 204.36 cpg.

Crude inventories fall 4.6 million barrels

The US Energy Information Administration statistics for the week ending December 22 showed a 4.6 million barrel decrease in commercial crude inventories to 431.9 million barrels (“in the middle of the average range,” per the EIA). It was the sixth consecutive weekly decline and the lowest level since the week ended Oct. 9, 2015.

Domestic crude oil production was put at 9.754 million b/d, down 3,500 b/d for the week, and 988,000 b/d higher than the same period last year.

Imports of crude were up 159,000 b/d to 8.0 million b/d on the week. Over the past four weeks, crude imports averaged 7.6 million b/d, down 5.9% compared to last year at this time.

Total gasoline imports were put at 388,000 b/d, up from 487,000 b/d last week; for the same period last year the figure was 434,000 b/d. Distillate imports were 239,000 b/d, up from 380,000 b/d on the week; the figure for last year was 157,000 b/d (typically the US imports products to the US East Coast and exports from the US Gulf Coast).

Total product demand rises 3.5%

Total product demand over the past four weeks was put at 20.6 million b/d, up 3.5% versus the same period last year.

Total gasoline inventories (including blendstocks) were up 0.6 million barrels to at 228.4 million barrels (“above the upper limit of the average range”), 1.2 million barrels above last year. Gasoline demand was 9.2 million b/d over the past four weeks, up 2.0% from the same period last year.

Distillate stocks totaled 129.9 million barrels (in the middle of the average range”), higher by 1.1 million barrels compared with last week, and 21.7 million barrels below last year. Distillate demand over the past four weeks was 4.1 million b/d, up 0.7% compared with the same period last year.

Propane stocks fall 2.7 million barrels

Propane/propylene inventories on the week were 68.6 million barrels (“in the middle of the average range”), down 2.7 million barrels on the week, but lower by 21.7 million barrels versus last year.

Total US refinery crude inputs on the week averaged 17.4 million b/d, higher by 335,000, 95.7% of capacity, higher by 1.6% percentage points. In PADD 3 (the Gulf Coast) runs were up 0.2 percentage points to 96.1%.

Also, net exports of all products were put at 3.423 million b/d, up 209,000 b/d for the week, a bullish number. The US typically needs to export products to keep inventories manageable.

While domestic gasoline demand was put at 9.2 million b/d, total gasoline production came in at 10.246 million b/d. Distillate demand was 4.1 million b/d, production at 5.476 million b/d.

Crude exports fall 648,000

Exports of crude oil were 1.210 million b/d (third highest all time), down from 1.858 million b/d last week; one year ago the figure was 627,000 b/d. -- Robert Sharp

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