PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap for the Week Ending April 6th, 2014

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Cushing Stocks Decline; WTI Rises

PIRA Energy Group

PIRA Energy Group

The decline in Cushing crude stocks continued for a third straight month, while Gulf Coast stocks continued to rise, reducing the discount of WTI to Brent and LLS.

NYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that Cushing stocks decline; WTI rises. In the U.S., a more typical U.S. stock draw returns. In Japan, Japanese crude stocks correct downward. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

Cushing Stocks Decline; WTI Rises

The decline in Cushing crude stocks continued for a third straight month, while Gulf Coast stocks continued to rise, reducing the discount of WTI to Brent and LLS. Canadian differentials improved modestly from very weak levels, while rising stock levels in the Rockies and West Texas caused differentials for crudes in those regions to weaken.

A More Typical U.S. Stock Draw Returns

This past week has closed out the first quarter with a stock decline. We had just four weeks of stock builds during this year's first quarter and we also matched the largest inventory decline since 2009.

Aramco Announces Crude Price Differentials for May

Saudi Arabia's formula prices for May were recently released. European differentials were lowered, relative to April, while U.S. and Asian differentials were tightened. The European reductions were greatest on the lightest of grades, and slightly less for the heavier grades such as Arab Medium and Arab Heavy. After two months of "no change", U.S. differentials were tightened fairly significantly, with the biggest adjustment coming on Arab Heavy.

Heating Season Is Ending with U.S. Propane Stocks Low

The shoulder season is beginning with U.S. propane inventory relatively low. Stock building will be commencing but with exports remaining high the comparison to the year ago will be quite favorable. Ethane usage will be affected by a high level of steam cracker downtime over the next couple of months. Increased cargo flow especially to the East of Suez markets has led to sharply increasing VLGC freight rates.

Ethanol Prices Spike

U.S. ethanol prices increased sharply to an eight-year high Monday, and inventories dropped to a 15-week low during March as the lack of railcars to transport ethanol forced manufacturers to reduce output. As a result, manufacturing margins at PIRA’s model ethanol plant jumped to a record of nearly $2 per gallon by the end of the month.

U.S. Ethanol Production Rises

U.S. ethanol production increased sharply to a fourteen-week high 922 MB/D the week ending March 28 from 885 MB/D during the previous week as manufacturers sought to take advantage of near-record prices. Storage and transportation problems have eased for some manufacturers, but the issues still persist for many producers. Inventories rose for the second consecutive week, by 222 thousand barrels to 15.9 million barrels.

The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap, which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.

Click here for additional information on PIRA’s global energy commodity market research services.

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