PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap for the Week Ending September 14th, 2014

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Asian Oil Balances Remain Long, For Now

THE LEADER IN WORLDWIDE ENERGY MARKET ANALYSIS

The continued glut of Atlantic Basin crude will need to be moved to Asia which will keep Brent-Dubai narrow.

NYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that Asian oil balances remain long, for now. In the U.S., product stock build outpaces crude draw, widening commercial stock excess. In Japan, both crude and finished product stocks rise. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

Asian Oil Balances Remain Long, For Now

Oil prices are likely to remain soft. Asian oil demand will pick up in 4Q and support a rising run profile post-turnaround. The continued glut of Atlantic Basin crude will need to be moved to Asia which will keep Brent-Dubai narrow. Eventually, Asian crude demand will rise and some of the surplus should be drawn, thus presenting a floor to prices. Gasoil cracks should be supported by seasonal demand increases, while gasoline cracks will weaken seasonally. Refinery margins should show improvement from weak levels seen earlier, but new refinery capacity both in Saudi Arabia and the UAE will present challenges in arbing product out of the Asian theater.

U.S. Product Stock Build Outpaces Crude Draw, Widening Commercial Stock Excess

The stock data for the week of September 5 reflected a rebenchmarking to the latest (June 2014) monthly, raising the possibility that weekly stock changes might be distorted when one week is indexed to a new benchmark, and the prior week to an older one. We mention this because of the larger than expected light product builds, and the unusual propane draw. Looking at the data as reported, crude stocks drew more this year than last, slightly widening the year-over-year deficit.

Both Crude and Finished Product Stocks in Japan Rise

Crude runs fell back slightly and imports rose, thus building crude stocks. Finished product stocks continued rising, though gasoline and gasoil stocks posted a draw. Gasoline demand continues to come in below expectations, but gasoil demand was quite strong this past week. Kerosene demand was higher on the week and the stock building rate came in slightly less than seasonal norms. Refining margins remain poor, but there was a slight improvement in gasoline and middle distillate cracks.

U.S. LPG Strength Continues, Future Prices Increases Will Face Headwinds

Propane prices reacted to Wednesday’s EIA surprise of near unchanged stocks by climbing an additional 2% this week. Butane was dragged a penny lower to $1.27/gal by a large drop in gasoline prices, although butane blending economics remain extremely robust. U.S. LPG price increases will likely moderate or re-trace as stock building resumes in the coming weeks, and as the spot arbitrage to Europe and Asia remains challenged, if not closed.

Ethanol Prices Plunge

Most U.S. ethanol assessments reached seven-month lows September 4 as the DOE reported that stocks built 356 thousand barrels and the production of ethanol-blended gasoline fell 1.1% from the previous week. Corn futures were also the lowest in over four years.

Production of Ethanol-blended Gasoline Declines

U.S. ethanol-blended gasoline manufacture plummeted to 8,553 MB/D the week ending September 5 from 8,802 MB/D during the previous week, as total gasoline output declined. U.S. ethanol output rose to 927 MB/D from 921 MB/D as production outside of PADD II reached another record high.

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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