Valero Boosts Imports of Venezuelan Oil as Sanctions Loom
U.S. refiner Valero Energy Corp this year boosted its imports of Venezuelan crude ahead of U.S. sanctions over the country's disputed presidential election and as other customers received less of the OPEC-member's exports, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data.Venezuelan oil production has tumbled to a multi-decade low this year, cutting shipments to buyers in the United States and elsewhere and worsening a severe economic recession. Its crude exports averaged 1.19 million barrels per day (bpd) in the January-April period, 28 percent less…
Fire hits California refinery
An explosion and fire at an oil refinery in Torrance, California, on Saturday forced the partial shutdown of the plant, leading oil traders to expect a spike this week in West Coast gasoline prices. Police and the plant owner said no one was hurt in the fire, which was extinguished by local firefighters. Two years ago, a fire at the same plant led to its closure for several months and a sustained increase in West Coast gasoline prices for more than a year. After the fire on Saturday, a group of local residents worried about pollution and accidents protested at the refinery. The event had been planned to mark the anniversary of the Feb. 18, 2015 incident.
Shell Reluctant to Part with California Refinery amid Asset Sale
Royal Dutch Shell is in talks with several potential buyers for its refinery outside of San Francisco, but the Anglo-Dutch oil giant is reluctant to part with its last asset in California, three people familiar with the process say. The company is in the midst of a massive asset sale, shedding properties from Thailand to the North Sea to pay down debt following its $54 billion purchase of smaller British rival BG Group last year. Shell, Europe's largest oil company, has sold around $15 billion of assets over the past year as part of a planned $30 billion in asset sales to trim debt incurred from the transaction.
PBF Energy Will Look at Citgo Assets for Possible Buy
PBF Energy Inc is looking at acquisition opportunities and talk that Venezuela's state-owned oil company may sell its U.S.-based Citgo Petroleum assets is "certainly something we would follow up on," Chairman Tom O'Malley told analysts on Friday. "... You can assume that we will follow up on absolutely everything. That's our job," he added. O'Malley also said the company had been looking at other opportunities, "particularly in California" because "that's where most of the opportunities have been." (Reporting by Kristen Hays in Houston; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
PA Pipeline Spat Could Upend International Oil Flows
Refiners from the Midwest United States are fighting for access to a vital Pennsylvania pipeline – a move that could cripple their East Coast competitors and redraw the map for international flows of crude and fuel into coveted coastal markets. The regulatory dispute centers on a proposal by pipeline operator Buckeye Partners’ to that state's Public Utilities Commission. The plan would reverse the flow of fuels on a section of Buckeye’s 350-mile Laurel Pipeline, which currently flows from the East Coast to Pittsburgh. Because pipelines only flow in one direction…
Distillates to Boost US Refiners' Bottom Line
U.S. refiners such as PBF Energy and Valero Energy are heading into the winter season on their best footing in years, as months of surprisingly robust distillate demand has eaten away at stubbornly high inventories and boosted margins. Inventories of diesel, heating oil and jet fuel are approaching their lowest seasonal levels in three years, fueling expectations among refining executives, traders and analysts that strong margins will help the bottom line for refiners through year-end. "With the distillate inventory correction at a somewhat speedier pace than gasoline…
Venezuela Ships More Oil to US in July vs June
Venezuela's PDVSA and its joint ventures last month shipped 638,325 barrels per day (bpd) of crude to the United States, a 30 percent increase over June due to larger sales of upgraded oil, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data. Venezuelan crude output has declined this year to its lowest point in 27 years due to a lack of investment and payment delays to oil service firms, affecting exports to customers in key markets including the United States. Even though the volume of crude sent to the United States in July was larger than the previous month, it was 22 percent below the same month in 2016. The main U.S.
U.S. Midwest Refiners Profit as Harvey Hits Rivals
U.S. refiners in the Midwest will be among the biggest winners after Hurricane Harvey dealt a blow to their competitors on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Refiners such as PBF Energy and HollyFrontier that are not hit by Harvey are on course for their best quarter in two years amid fears of fuel shortages that helped push profit margins for making gasoline up as much as 21 percent on Monday <RBc1-CLc1>. The U.S. refining industry enjoyed strong margins in recent weeks and the fallout from the hurricane is likely to extend the bullish run for weeks. Midwest refiners have the added advantage of pricing their fuel based on benchmark prices in the Gulf Coast markets…
EPA Mulls Changes to Biofuels Policy
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a change to U.S. biofuels policy that would allow exports of ethanol to count toward the country's annual biofuels volumes mandates, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday. The proposal would represent a significant shift from the original mandate of the 2005 renewable fuel program, designed to increase the amount ethanol and biodiesel in the country's fuel pool while boosting the U.S. agricultural sector. The move would benefit U.S. merchant refiners like Valero and PBF Energy, who are required under the U.S.
U.S. GoM Energy Producers Evacuating Ahead of T/S Nate
Oil and natural gas producers began evacuating staff at U.S. Gulf of Mexico platforms on Thursday ahead of Tropical Storm Nate, the second storm in as many months to threaten Gulf Coast oil and refining facilities. Nate, which has already killed three people in Costa Rica, according to local authorities, is forecast to scrape past Honduras and Mexico, enter the Gulf and strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall early on Sunday in Louisiana, near several major refineries. That path takes it through an area populated by offshore oil and natural gas platforms, which pumps more than 1.6 million barrels of crude per day, about 17 percent of U.S.
Philadelphia-Area Refiners Push Biofuels Program Reform
Oil refinery workers, executives and local politicians gathered near Philadelphia on Monday to urge the White House revamp the nation's renewable fuels program, arguing the future of their plants are at stake. The U.S. renewable fuel program requires higher levels of ethanol and other biofuels to be blended into the nation's fuel pool, a requirement pitting the oil industry against the powerful farm lobby. President Donald Trump has promised corn growers he would protect the program, while also signaling that he sympathizes with U.S. refiners who bear its costs.
Refinery State Lawmakers Stump for Biofuel Meeting
Nine U.S. senators from states that have oil refineries sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday urging changes to the country's biofuels policy and asking for a meeting to discuss the issue. The letter reflects growing tensions between refiners that oppose the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard - a law requiring them to blend increasing amounts of ethanol into the nation's fuel each year - and the Midwest corn lobby that supports it. The Trump administration bowed to rising pressure from Midwest lawmakers last week, assuring them in letters and phone calls that it would ditch proposals, supported by the refining industry, to overhaul the biofuels policy.
Vitol: Exxon Mobil Lacked 'transparency' During Torrance Outage
Swiss commodity trader Vitol SA criticized Exxon Mobil Corp this week for failing to be transparent about maintenance at its Los Angeles refinery following a February 2015 blast, which contributed to tighter gasoline supplies and higher prices. Speaking before a committee of the California Energy Commission on Tuesday, Brad Lucas, a West Coast trader for Vitol, said that lack of information from Exxon made it difficult to time cargo deliveries into the West Coast market. The explosion at Exxon Mobil's 149,500 barrel-per-day Torrance refinery, which provides about 10 percent of California's gasoline supply, knocked a gasoline-producing unit offline for more than a year.
ExxonMobil Defends Handling of Torrance Refinery Outage
ExxonMobil has defended its handling of an outage at its Los Angeles refinery following a blast in February 2015 after a prominent trading company told a state commission that the process had lacked transparency. Speaking before a committee of the California Energy Commission on Tuesday, Brad Lucas, a West Coast trader for Vitol , said that lack of information about the restart of the refinery made it difficult to time cargo deliveries into the West Coast market. He said Exxon kept saying the Torrance refinery would come back online "next month".
Trump Plans to Meet Oil Industry Reps on US Biofuel Policy
U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with representatives of the oil refining industry and their legislative backers to discuss the nation's biofuels program, according to two sources briefed on the matter. The White House meeting could set the stage for negotiations over possible legislation to overhaul the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard - a 2005 law that requires refiners to blend increasing amounts of biofuels like ethanol into the nation's gasoline each year, the sources said, asking not to be named. While the regulation would be a boon to the Midwest corn belt…
PBF Energy Expects Slowdown in East Coast Rail Volumes
PBF Energy is expecting rail volumes of Bakken crude oil at its East Coast refineries to drop significantly next year, calling rail deliveries "price challenged," the company said on Thursday. The company is planning on roughly 25,000 barrels-per-day of Bakken crude to be railed into its 85,000 bpd rail terminal in Delaware City, Delaware, CEO Tom Nimbly said on an earnings call. The terminal was completed in 2013, at a time PBF and other refineries were hailing access to Bakken crude as a savior to the local industry. (Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw)
Trump Wades Deeper into Biofuel Debate
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday will gather rivals from the oil and corn industries for the second time this week as the administration seeks elusive common ground on reforms to the nation's controversial biofuels law. The meetings come amid rising concern in the White House over the current state of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a law requiring refiners to mix biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into their fuel, which has increasingly divided two of Trump's most important constituencies. A refining company, Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) in the key electoral state of Pennsylvania, last month blamed the regulation for its bankruptcy.
Shell Retains Deutsche Bank for CA Refinery Sale
Royal Dutch Shell plc has retained Deutsche Bank to sell its Martinez, California refinery, according to three people familiar with the matter. Shell is in the midst of a three-year, $30 billion divestment plan following the company's purchase of BG Group earlier this year. A Shell spokesman said the company would not comment on "rumor or speculation." Deutsche Bank declined to comment. The refinery, located 30 miles (48 km) northeast of San Francisco, has been operating since 1915. It can process about 165,000 barrels of crude oil daily into gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and other refined products. It has a coker unit used for processing heavy grades of crude.
Venezuela's Crude Sales to U.S. Falls to 15-year Low in February
Venezuela's crude exports to the United States declined in February to a 15-year low as oil production continues falling and President Donald Trump's administration weighs new sanctions on the OPEC country, according to Thomson Reuters data. Financial sanctions imposed by the United States in August on Venezuela and state-run oil firm PDVSA have created obstacles for selling crude cargoes to U.S. refiners, shrinking the number of customers PDVSA has in the U.S. In February, PDVSA and its joint ventures sent 21 cargoes to the United States - half the number it exported in recent years - with a total of 378…
PBF Energy: Its Refineries Will Not Be Affected by Strike
PBF Energy Inc's three refineries will not be affected by the strike by United Steelworkers union workers currently impacting 11 plants, the company said during a conference call with analysts on Thursday. PBF said it settled local issues with local unions at its refineries and agreed to match the wage and health benefits that lead negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc and the union eventually agree to implement and that in exchange for this workers at PBF's three refineries had agreed not to strike. Reporting by Robert Gibbons