Monday, May 20, 2019

Oil Refiners News

Shutdown Risks Delays to US Energy Initiatives

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The partial government shutdown is increasing the chances of delays in U.S. energy initiatives from the release of President Donald Trump's proposed offshore drilling plan to allowing higher levels of ethanol in gasoline during summer months, energy industry groups said on Friday.The U.S. Department of Interior had been expected to release its highly anticipated 2019 to 2024 offshore oil and gas drilling plan in early January.The Trump administration has made opening up greater areas to offshore drilling…

Oil Refiners Face Rollercoaster Ride as Fuel Margins Seesaw

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Oil product margins have been tossed around on a wild rollercoaster ride in October, as factors like impending Iran sanctions, the China-U.S. trade war and upcoming shipping regulations yank fuel profits up, down and back again.Some profit margins, known as crack spreads in the industry, including for Asian fuel oil and gasoil have boomed, while others, such as Asian and European gasoline cracks, have plunged.Crack spreads are the difference between the price of crude oil and the price of the products such as diesel and gasoline refined from it.

Valero, Marathon Beat Profit Estimates as Refining Margins Rise

Photo courtesy of Valero

Two of the biggest independent oil refiners in the United States beat Wall Street profit estimates on Thursday as greater processing of cheap, light crude from West Texas helped boost margins.Shares of Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum gained as much as 7 percent to $79.43, while those of San Antonio, Texas-based Valero Energy Corp rose 4 percent to touch $113.53.Most refiners in the United States process heavy crude from countries such as Venezuela or Canada into diesel, gasoline and other products, but the U.S.

EPA Scraps Plan to Force US Refiners to Blend More Biofuels

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ditched a detailed plan that would have forced refiners to blend more biofuels into their gasoline and diesel in 2019 to compensate for volumes likely to be exempted under the agency's small refinery hardship waiver program, according to newly released EPA documents.The plan would have boosted the renewable fuel blending obligation for the refining industry to 11.76 percent from 10.88 percent to offset volumes lost under the waiver program…

Asian Refiners Rush to Secure Feedstock as Trade War Looms

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U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods came into effect Friday; China retaliates, duty on U.S. crude possible. Asian oil refiners are racing to secure crude supplies in anticipation of an escalating trade war between the United States and China, and as Washington plans tough sanctions against Iran aimed at shutting the country out of oil markets. As part of a wave of retaliation for Friday's U.S. tariffs, China has threatened a 25 percent duty on imports of U.S. crude. Meanwhile, Washington's new sanctions against Tehran are due to kick in from November.

Buyers Seek US Waivers to Buy Iranian Oil amid New Sanctions

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South Korea said on Wednesday it would seek U.S. exemptions to buy Iranian oil, a path many big oil consumers are likely to follow in the wake of new U.S. sanctions on Tehran, which will tighten world oil markets and push up prices.Iran is the third-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a key supplier, especially to refiners in Asia.The United States plans to impose new unilateral sanctions after abandoning an agreement reached in late 2015 which limited Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for removing joint U.S.-Europe sanctions…

Asia's Gasoline Glut Drags on Refining Margins

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Sharrif Che'Lah)

Asia's gasoline crack on Thursday hit lowest since 2016; recent high refinery throughput countered maintenance season. Gasoline profits for Asia's oil refiners hit their lowest since 2016, while refining margins have touched a three-month low, pulled down by high crude oil prices and an oversupply of fuel. The slump in profit margins comes as prices for crude oil , which is the most important feedstock for refiners in Asia, hit their highest since late 2014 of almost $75 per barrel.

Essar UK to Buy More US Crude in 2018

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Essar UK, one of Britain's biggest oil refiners, will buy more U.S. crude this year after testing it last year, showing how rising output from the United States is squeezing out traditional European suppliers from the North Sea and Africa. Essar took at least three cargoes U.S. crude in 2017 for its 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Stanlow oil refinery. "We will continue to take U.S. cargoes because we find value in them," Chief Executive Officer Srinivasalu Thangapandian told Reuters at a Platts middle distillates conference in Antwerp.

Idemitsu, Showa Shell to Combine Crude Liftings

The two companies expect to finish this loading integration in the second-half of 2018, Idemitsu CEO Takashi Tsukioka told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event to mark the New Year. Idemitsu said last month that it and Showa Shell would combine management of their key businesses, pursuing a merger bitterly opposed by a core investor - Idemitsu's founding family. Japan's second- and fourth-biggest refiners by sales aim to win over Idemitsu's founding family by showing successful examples of "synergies" between the two companies, Tsukioka said.

India's LNG Play Risks Eventual Shortages

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India is planning to join the Asian rush to boost the use of natural gas over coal, a further sign that the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market will tighten faster than previously expected. India's state oil refiners Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum aim to raise the contribution of natural gas to between 5 percent and 15 percent of their incomes over the coming years, up from virtually zero currently. This is part of the government's target to boost the natural gas portion of India's primary energy mix to 15 percent by 2030, up from 6.5 percent now.

S.Korean Refiners Look to Cash in on 2020 Mandate

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Three refiners to spend more than $5 bln to upgrade or add units. South Korean refiners are planning to spend over $5 billion on plant upgrades in response to tighter rules on shipping fuel, boosting production of low-sulphur fuel oil as well as other high-end products. The refiners hope the investment, which comes ahead of the 2020 introduction of the new rules, will make them one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new regulations, with many competitors still waiting to commit to new spending. "Not many refiners are doing so.

Senators Object to EPA's Planned Biofuel Changes

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A group of 38 U.S. senators asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to abandon plans to lower biofuels requirements for oil refiners in 2018, according to a letter made public by the office of Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. The senators, including Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said in the letter that the EPA should restructure its proposal for the 2018 version of a rule that each year forces producers of oil-based fuels to include renewable fuels like ethanol in their products.

US Gasoline Prices Climb as Refineries Gradually Restart

U.S. retail gasoline prices climbed Tuesday, even as oil refineries rumbled back into service after Hurricane Harvey disrupted operations along the Texas coast. The average gasoline price was $2.648, 30.2 cents higher than a month ago, according to motorist advocacy group AAA. Gasoline prices normally retreat after the U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend. Benchmark U.S. gasoline futures fell more than 3 percent, however, as refineries restarted. U.S. oil refiners are estimated to have 3.67 million barrels a day of capacity shut during the week to Sept. 8, according to research company IIR.

Crude Falls as Market Mulls Storm Impact

Harvey brings heavy rainfall, flooding to U.S. Gulf Coast. Crude prices dipped on Tuesday as the market grappled with the shutdown of some 13 percent of refining capacity in the United States after a hurricane ripped through the heart of the country's oil industry. The refinery closures helped push U.S. gasoline futures to a two-year high of $1.7799 per gallon on Monday, although they had receded to $1.7030 by 1158 GMT on Tuesday. International Brent crude futures were 32 cents lower at $51.57 per barrel, having traded as high as $52.19 earlier in the day. U.S.

Idemitsu, Showa Shell Ink Alliance Deal

Japanese oil refiners Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK said on Tuesday that they have signed a deal to form a business alliance ahead of Idemitsu's stalled merger with Showa Shell. Under the deal, the companies will cooperate more closely on crude purchases and transportation as well as production plans, they said in a statement. Idemitsu Kosan completed the purchase of just under a third of Showa Shell last December, but the goal of a full merger of the two companies has been delayed due to opposition from Idemitsu's founding family.

China's March Crude Imports Shatter Record

File Image: A loaded VLCC enroute to its final disport. Credit AdobeStock / Carabay)

March crude imports 9.17 mln bpd, previous record 8.57 mln bpd; beats U.S. as top crude oil importer for March, year so far. China's crude oil imports surged to an all-time high in March to nearly 9.2 million barrels per day (bpd), customs data showed on Thursday, far surpassing expectations and overtaking the United States as independent refiners ramped up their purchases. The March imports came in at 38.95 million tonnes, or 9.17 million bpd, according to the General Customs Administration.

Trump to Shift Biofuel Blending Burden Off Refiners

The head of the Renewable Fuels Association said on Tuesday that it had been informed by President Donald Trump's administration that it would order a change to the U.S. biofuels program, lifting the responsibility for fuel blending off refiners. Oil refiners, including Valero Energy Corp and CVR Energy Inc, had long sought the change, saying the structure of the country's biofuels program hits them with burdensome costs. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires that fuel companies use increasing amounts of biofuel blended with gasoline and diesel.

Oil Industry Infighting Heats up as EPA Weighs Biofuels Rule Change

Oil companies showed deepening divides on the future of the U.S. biofuels program in solicited comments from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a plan sought by some refiners to shift the program's financial burden to retailers and blenders. All sides are pushing hard, seizing the opportunity to test President Donald Trump's commitment to the program. Trump has supported the program, but top figures in his administration have criticized it. Refiners, integrated oil companies…

Singapore Carbon Tax Would Hit Refiners, Help Renewables

Proposed carbon tax would deal blow to refineries; Singapore is main regional oil trading hub. Singapore's proposed plan to tax greenhouse gas emissions would probably hit oil refiners hard, ramping up costs in an industry that has been central to the city-state's rapid development over the last half-century. Monday's announcement that a carbon tax on direct emitters is to be introduced from 2019 shows that Singapore, Asia's main oil trading hub, could be moving towards a longer-term future dominated by cleaner technology and resources.

EPA Denies AFPM Biofuel Petition

U.S. environmental regulators have denied a request from oil refiners to waive some of their advanced biofuels use requirements from 2016, in what is likely to be one of the Obama Administration's final decisions on the controversial program. The denial, published on Environmental Protection Agency's website on Wednesday, comes just days before President-elect Donald Trump takes office and as his nominee for EPA chief was being questioned in a Senate hearing. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program was signed into law in 2005 and designed to boost a renewable fuel industry annually.