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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Price changes for Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hi to all,

Here's what I have for price changes for Thursday:

Heating and stove oils to increase by a penny
Diesel to increase by 8/10ths of a cent a litre, and...
Gasoline shows an increase of 3/10ths of a cent a litre.
In the news
A halt to Arctic drilling
Royal Dutch Shell has announced it is discontinuing its offshore exploration program off Alaska, and that goes in hand with sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine, in fact, hitting RDS twice. The plans by Royal Dutch Shell included a program of drilling in Russian Arctic waters that lay between that country and Alaska. While it may appear surprising, it shouldn't in a new world of $50 US a barrel oil along with the fact that they simply couldn't explore in their program against sanctions placed that disrupted exploration. It wasn't all about $50 US.
With the potential of upwards of 25 billion barrels estimated to be in Arctic waters, I find it hard to believe that they would turn away from a project that could result from the discovery of such potential reserves.
Canadian dollar figures against fuel prices...Again
The Canadian dollar has again accounted for a slight increase to prices this week. While some refined commodity prices slipped slightly this week, the drop in the Canadian dollar against the US greenback. Had the dollar remained stable this past week, we could have been looking at a drop of a penny across the board. As it stands right now, had the dollar been at par with the US dollar, we would be looking at heating/stove oils, gasoline and Diesel all 13 cents plus taxes lower than what we see to the consumer right now. 
 US refineries still down for winter maintenance
With almost 18.6 million barrel a day capacity, one would almost be in shock in learning that 1.4 million barrels is presently offline due to factors like winter maintenance schedules. No need to be alarmed as refiners routinely shut down refining to switch over to production of winter fuels like heating oils and diesel fuels at this ti. Refiner capacity should start to climb again in the coming weeks, taking further supporting pressure off gasoline prices as inventory is again added to stocks. 
That's it for this week!
Twitter @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Price changes for Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hi to all,

Here's what I have for this week's price changes:

Heating and stove oils to drop by 4/10ths of a cent a litre.
Diesel also down by 1.4 cents a litre, and...
Gasoline shows a small drop of just 6/10ths of a cent a litre.

In the news
Refiner capacity
With refineries mostly into maintenance mode now, not a lot of gasoline is coming back into the markets that shows we're into a strong inventory building mode. With a drop in gasoline demand as a result of the end of the summer driving season, and refineries offline due to the switch to winter production, markets are showing relatively steady for gasoline prices as demand fails to seriously impact inventories. While no inventories have been impacted by demand, any possible build has been sidelined as well, and it's showing in prices that are mostly steady as a result.

Crude in "floating storage"
Latest numbers indicate an overall drop in floating storage as a market oversupply continues to weigh down prices. Present figures show almost 150 million barrels still out there in storage with nowhere to go as over-production continues to negate any sale of crude.

China keeps buying "low"
China continues to buy at almost record lows of oil over the last ten years, and they may very well be a factor in where oil goes in the coming years. With China adding almost 500,000 barrels a day to their strategic reserve at these low prices, China has undertaken a program of adding additional storage capacity to their strategic reserve. With China stocks filled with 220 million barrels of crude, their added capacity program includes close to an added 135 million barrels now under construction and an added 148 million in the planning stage.

Future price of oil
With "futures" pricing showing crude selling at $58 and change for fiscal 2017, the news is not good for those hoping for higher oil prices. Fiscal 2016 Brent prices are hanging in the mid $53 US a barrel range. China's continuing purchase of crude to add to its strategic reserve remains a vital factor in why oil has not crashed completely. That, and the fact that US domestic producers simply can't master production at lower levels without hurting their bottom lines. If prices do rise, US domestic will only increase again to lower them as producers try to gain some revenue from their investment.

Iran continues to weigh on oil
The promise of Iran's "re-entry" into the oil markets also continues to keep prices down. While Iran is continuing to work toward meeting the goals required to lift sanctions, word is that they're extremely close to meeting the December goal that could add another 500,000 barrels immediately to world production of oil. While some don't think it will figure, any past addition/cut by OPEC in oil production has to have at least the temporary effect of lowering prices in this case. There's more trouble ahead for Brent!

I'll leave it at that for now!


Twitter @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Price changes for Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hi to all,

Here's what I have for price changes this week:

Heating and stove oils to drop by 2.2 cents a litre.
Diesel to drop by 2.9 cents a litre, and...
Gasoline to drop by 3.9 cents a litre.

In the markets
OPEC market tidbits
In what must be true irony, Venezuela is now proposing that OPEC adopt a new policy of having a minimum price for oil! With oil prices crashing and causing a stark reality of lower oil revenues to the OPEC member state, the country is having to face just how low oil goes as speculators also bet on how low prices can drop. In conversation the other day, I reflected on remembrances of OPEC being happy with maximum prices between $22 and $28 US as early as 1997 when I started studying oil. I wonder if they're really getting back to the new reality of oil now?

Iraq is asking oil companies operating there to reign in any capital spending for the next fiscal year, citing lower expected revenues from oil.

Out of China
China's future demand for oil is expected to drop further in the face of a weakening economy, with demand expected to drop from an added 400K barrels a day to only 260 K barrels a day better than what they use now. Slower growth comes a slower need with an economy in trouble. Latest word also has China adding just 400,000 barrels a day to their strategic reserves where they previously purchased 750K per day.

I'll leave it at that for now. If you need anything else, drop me a line.

Regards for now,

Twitter @GeorgeMurphyMHA

One of these days, I'm going to sit on a stage and give some of these oil companies some sage advice! Either that, or let them pick my

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Price changes for Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Hi to all,

Here's what I have for this week's price changes:

Heating and stove oils to increase by 1.9 cents a litre.*
Diesel to increase by 2.3 cents a litre*, and...
Gasoline also adds 1.1 cents a litre.

*With increases to distillate fuels like heating and diesel exceeding that for gasoline, it's an easy signal that speculators in the markets have now turned their attention away from the gasoline markets for the next little while. I expect more attention on these fuels from the speculators for the next few months
In the markets

Volatility in the oil market continues to show wild swings as they attempt to find at least a temporary bottom to oil prices. Speculators still fear a further drop in oil prices, probably part of the reason why oil hasn't shown any appreciable increase in the past few weeks. Indeed, the gains and sudden drops in oil are consistent with speculators continuing fears of bad economic news yet to come with the markets. Some speculators are saying oil prices could retreat even further, and as low as $30 US a barrel before we see some sense return to the markets.

The latest production figures from the US Energy Information Administration are telling some news that the "oil price war" is beginning to tell on overall US domestic production. The Saudi's fired the initial shots to try and reign in US production of domestic resources by driving down prices for oil to a point that it simply wouldn't be affordable to pump. US domestic production has dropped from peak production in July of 9.6 million barrels a day to the latest August 28th report of 9.2 million barrels a day. Of course, part reason of market fears whenever we see oil prices rally also centers on the fact that, while the spigots have turned off, any increase in oil prices can easily turn them back on again.

That's it for this week!


Twitter @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Price changes for August 27th, 2015

Hi to all,
Here's what I have for this week's price changes:
Heating and stove oils to drop by 3.7 cents.
Diesel to drop by 3.9 cents, and...
Gasoline to drop by six cents a litre.
In the markets...
China...It's all about China.
With the collapse of the price of oil, it's easy to point to China as an example of how dependent the world has become in using China as a "crutch" to support oil prices. We all know that as an emerging nation, China would have an effect on demand for world oil, but no one yet has considered what has been done by China to break it's initial dependence on oil. It is estimated by some that China is about three years away from putting domestic drilling regulations in place so it can try and develop its own reserves. Through the years, I've also run into small tidbits from China that others have ignored. Shell, for example, just a couple of years ago, signed a huge agreement with China to develop both natural gas and join with the state-owned oil company in developing other "sources" of oil resources. No doubt, if the "frack" goes ahead in China soon, it will have started to crack its dependence on OPEC oil and done massive damage to OPEC's chief customers. Where does oil go then?
OPEC countries worried
"Weaker" OPEC producers are beginning to worry over overall OPEC production and the Saudi drive to cut US domestic production. In what is beginning to look more like a suicidal motion towards trying to maintain market share, some of the smaller OPEC producers are beginning to question the moves by Saudi Arabia in over-producing to try to maintain market share and cut into US domestic costs to produce. It's costing smaller OPEC members to also absorb the hit to their own revenues, and has them calling for an emergency meeting to address the long-term goal of OPEC. Are we witnessing a crack in OPEC unity?
It's been a long drive back from the west coast, so, I'm going to leave it at that for now.
Twitter @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Price changes for August 20, 2015

Hi to all,

Here's what  have for this week's price changes;

Heating and stove oils show an added 4/10ths of a cent a litre.
Diesel fuel shows no change this week, and...
Gasoline shows an additional 1.5 cents a litre at the pumps for Thursday.

In the markets

December 18th...
That's the key day to watch for as the International Energy Agency says is the earliest date by which Iranian crude will be released clear of sanctions. It's estimated that, Iranian exports from the country will amount to an immediate influx of 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day with another 500,000 to hit the markets in the intervening six months. Brent crude prices have been showing a little to the "down side" in the last coupe of days, out of par with the movement of West Texas Intermediate.

Refinery outages lead to tight gasoline markets. Prices rise
In the mid-western US states as well as western Canada, consumers too a huge hit at the pumps with gasoline spot prices rising as much as 10 to 20 cents a litre as a result of a Whiting, Indiana refinery outage that took 400,000 barrels of crude processing offline. With refinery capacity at 96.1 per cent last Wednesday, it shows just how tight the gasoline market was. Still, almost 605,000 barrels out of a possible 18.3 million barrels of refining capacity remains offline. Gas prices in Calgary hit $1.22.5 cents a litre as a result.

Speaking of Calgary...
It's a shining example of what can happen to a rapidly growing oil industry that gets handicapped by the lack of export infrastructure and a lack of secondary processing. Prices for Western Canadian Select sold at market yesterday for $22 US a barrel, while in neighbouring Edmonton, their Syncrude Sweet sold in the markets for $37 US and change. While projects like Keystone XL and projects pushing oil to the BC coast remain delayed, also delayed is any possible recovery of Alberta crude oils without a "way out", barring any other geo-political or economic factors.

Jet fuel surcharges persist...
I'm surprised at the lack of reaction from consumers who still pay absurd amounts in fuel surcharges, even though the price of jet fuel is down close to 37 cents a litre less than it was for the same time period last year. Market numbers show jet fuel selling on the New York mercantile exchange for 50.7 cents a litre, down from 87 cents a litre.
              Overseas, airlines based in Asia, like Japan Airlines and South Korean will be revisiting their fuel surcharges based on lower than expected oil prices. Japan Airlines expects their fuel surcharges to be half of what they were this time last year. Can't say the same for here. What is the policy to our Canadian airlines, WestJet and Air Canada?

That's it for this week,

George Murphy
Twitter @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Price changes for Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hi to all,

Here's what I have for this week's price changes:

Heating and stove oils down by 6/10ths of cent a litre.
Diesel to drop by the same 6/10ths of a cent, and...
Gasoline to drop by 3.2 cents a litre.

Market news

China demand to hit oil?
Besides the fact that there's a problem worldwide with economic recovery, particularly evident are concerns around Chinese growth. Growth has been stagnant to say the least, with problems even arising in the Chinese trading markets. Add to that, the Chinese government's move late yesterday (today) to devalue its own currency in an attempt to attract more business to at least stabilize the downfall of industrial output. The move has led speculators to worry about the real problems in the China economy, and that, in turn, has led to another round of drops in oil prices. Fears abound about a further drop in oil demand in China, reflecting on oil.

Saudi's to drive oil lower?
If Chinese demand retreats as expected, a concerted move by Saudi Arabia to maintain overall production in the markets could lower oil prices to $36 US a barrel (WTI). The production figures out of Saudi Arabia show that 10.36 million barrels a day was pumped by the OPEC member in July. That leaves worldwide oil production at 2.9 million barrels a day more than what the world is consuming.

US domestic production keeps rising
Enter Uncle Sam...
Over the past eight months, US domestic production of oil has added close to 600,000 barrels a day, with US production hitting 9.4 million barrels a day. While OPEC is forecasting an added 90,000 barrels a day in consumption for the 2016 year, it hardly scratches both additional US domestic production and added oil to the markets from Iran, who boosted their own domestic production to 2.9 million barrels a day in anticipation of another entry into the markets. IF US producers can manage expenses in production costs, then oil prices are in a heap of trouble and bets for higher prices are off.

I'll leave it at that for now,


George Murphy
Twitter @GeorgeMurphyMHA