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Market Intel Archives

Oil futures rose with confidence OPEC that cuts will eat away at global supply surplus

February 28, 2017

Recap: Oil futures rose along with confidence that OPEC cuts would eat away at the global supply surplus. April WTI rose to a high of $54.61 for a gain of 62 cents before paring gains, to settle at $54.05, up 6 cents, or 0.11%. The soon to expire, April Brent reached a high of $56.77, up 78 cents prior to a settlement of $55.93, down 6 cents, or 0.11%.

After February's attempt to move higher, oil prices have settled back within the sideways trading pattern that began at the onset of the new year. Based upon a daily spot continuation chart, the front month futures contract for WTI has managed to remain above the 10 and 30-day moving averages, while moving oscillators are trending sideways in neutral territory. Short term technical indicators are calling for a higher move, setting up the possibility for a run at last week's high of $55.03. Support rests at $53.85 and below that at $53.10.

March RBOB gained 1.6 cents, or 1.1%, to $1.531 a gallon, while March heating oil settled at $1.647 a gallon, up nearly a penny, or 0.4%. 

Fundamental NewsGenscape reported that crude oil stocks held in Cushing, Oklahoma increased more than 800,000 barrels of crude on the week. 

OPEC's Secretary General, Mohammed Barkindo, said OPEC-led output cuts have been well supported by all participating countries despite some challenges for non-OPEC producers to monitor production caps.  He said Nigeria, Iran and Libya continue to be exempt from production limits.

Iran's Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, said OPEC's level of compliance with production cuts in January has been acceptable, expressing hope for further cooperation from non-OPEC members in the near future.  Iran's Oil Minister said OPEC's level of compliance with a production cut deal in January was acceptable.

UAE OPEC Governor, Ahmed Al Kaaba, said oil markets were stable as oil producers are committed to a deal to cut output that will ensure market stability. 

Russia's Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said Russia may cut oil production as part of the global agreement faster than it previously expected.  Russia said it would cut oil production by 200,000 bpd by the end of the first quarter compared with October's levels, and by a further 300,000 bpd in April as part of the global deal to cut output in order to support weak prices.  Russia's output in February was lower than in January.  It deepened its 117,000 bpd cut it achieved in January.  Separately, Russia has been in talks with Iran to buy crude oil from the country. 

Royal Dutch Shell reported a potential leak of an unknown amount of crude from a mainline between Collinga and Castene in Fresno County, California.  Shell reported that the line has been shut down and isolated while an investigation is underway. 

Bloomberg reported that US gasoline imports from Europe increased from a seven week low.  Nine tankers carrying 2.59 million barrels or 370,284 bpd of gasoline from Europe arrived in the US between February 17th and 23rd. 

Phillips 66 said its pipeline ,which was shut after a fire at its Paradis Pipeline station in Louisiana earlier this month, was restarted over the weekend.  An explosion and fire at the pipeline station occurred on February 9th during routine maintenance.  

According to Bloomberg, total US waterborne LPG exports from Houston, Port Arthur, Philadelphia and Seattle increased by 0.7% to 1.03 million bpd in the week ending February 23rd.  It is up from 1.02 million bpd in the previous week. 


Early Market Call - as of 9:15 AM EDT

WTI - Apr $56.15 down 58 cents

RBOB - Mar $1.5039 down 2.88 cents

HO - Mar $1.6148 down 2.51 cents


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Oil prices fell on Friday as U.S. output continues to rise

February 27, 2017

Recap: Rising U.S. output counteracted output cuts by OPEC and other major producers, pushing oil prices lower on Friday. After trading in a narrow range, April WTI settled at $53.99, down 46 cents, or 0.84%, while April Brent fell 59 cents, or 1.04% to settle at $55.99.

Although OPEC is making output cuts, Libya has been upping its production, and is approximately up 0.5 million barrels per day from its lowest level a year ago, with room to grow. Nigeria has been eyeing an increase to its output, and is looking at ramping up its oil production to 2.2 million barrels per day.  Prior to the agreed upon cuts, Saudi Arabia ramped up production, thereby lowering the effect of its cuts. Russia, who agreed to a 300,000 bpd cut, has managed only 100,000 bpd. Despite OPEC achieving almost 90% adherence to the cuts, when one does the math, the overall cuts do not make a significant impact. This, combined with record level U.S. stockpiles, and the increase in the number of operating rigs presents a problem for traders. We could see the contango market conditions in calendar spreads start again. We are seeing slight hints of this already in the April/May WTI spread.

March RBOB fell 1.38 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $1.5148 a gallon, while March heating oil fell 1.63 cents, or 1%, to $1.6404 a gallon.

Fundamental NewsBaker Hughes reported that the number of rigs searching for oil in the US continues to increase.  The oil rig count increased by five to 602 in the past week.  

OPEC's Joint Technical Committee said total output cut compliance from OPEC and non-OPEC producers stood at 86%.  OPEC has delivered reductions in January amounting to as much as 90% in January and is seen increasing as the UAE and Iraq pledge to catch up quickly with their targets.  The UAE's OPEC Governor, Ahmed Al Kaabi, said the UAE is fully committed to the OPEC cuts and is undertaking the necessary measures that will ensure it is fully compliant over the six month period with the OPEC agreement.

According to the EIA, US crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 393,000 bpd to 1.06 million bpd in the week ending February 17th. 

Nigerian crude differentials fell on Thursday, with an overhang of March cargoes spread across a number of crude grades.  About 15 million cargoes were still unsold in Nigeria, spread across Bonny Light, Brass River, Erha, Qua Iboe and Agbami grades. 

Japan's imports of Iranian crude increased by 32.5% on the year in January to 1.14 million kiloliters or 231,000 bpd, according to Japan's Ministry of Finance. 

According to Bernstein analysts, Saudi Arabia will need oil prices at $83/barrel in 2020 to achieve a balanced budget as the country's oil exports fall in line with OPEC cuts. 

Barclays said its 2017 average Brent price forecast remained unchanged at $57/barrel.  It expects the price of Brent to average $62/barrel in the second quarter.  It revised down its 2018 forecast for Brent crude to $67/barrel and slightly raised its fourth quarter estimate to $55/barrel from $53/barrel.  The 2017 price of WTI is forecast at $56/barrel while the 2018 price is forecast at $65/barrel.  

BMI Research stated that the oil market is heading into backwardation as demand is set to outstrip supply for the first time since 2011.  The flattening of the futures curve supports its global supply/demand data, which forecasts a deficit in 2017. 

Credit Suisse reported that refining margins in the Gulf Coast fell by 93 cents to $10.12/barrel while margins in the West Coast fell by 42 cents to $18.58/barrel and margins in the East Coast fell by 20 cents to $8.01/barrel.  Margins in the Midwest increased by $2.09 to $11/barrel while margins in the Rockies increased by $1.14 to $22.02/barrel.


Early Market Call - as of 9:10 AM EDT

WTI - Apr $54.41 up 42 cents

RBOB - Mar $1.5357 up 2.09 cents

HO - Mar $1.6592 up 1.88 cents


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Oil market rallied after release of weekly EIA petroleum stock report

February 24, 2017

Recap: The oil market remained range bound on Thursday as it retraced some of Wednesday's earlier losses and traded within Tuesday's trading range.  The market immediately posted a low of $53.87 at the opening and traded higher in overnight trading.  The market rallied to a high of $54.94 following the release of the EIA's weekly petroleum stock report, which showed a draw in crude stocks of 564,000 barrels on the week compared with expectations for a 3.5 million barrel build.  Also, crude oil stocks held in Cushing, Oklahoma fell by 1.528 million barrels on the week.  However, the oil market erased its gains and traded back towards the $54.20 level and settled in a sideways trading pattern ahead of the close.  The April crude contract settled at $54.45, up 86 cents while the April Brent contract settled at $56.58, up 74 cents.  The product markets were also supported in light of the larger than expected draws reported in both distillate and gasoline stocks.  The heating oil market settled at $1.6567, up 2.71 cents and the RBOB market settled at $1.5286, up 1.53 cents.     

Fundamental NewsGenscape reported that crude oil stocks held in Cushing, Oklahoma in the week ending February 21st fell by 225,062 barrels on the week and by 198,354 barrels from February 17th to 64,985,136 barrels. 

Iran's Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, said an increase in oil prices to more than $55/barrel was not in the interest of OPEC as it would lead to an increase in output by non-OPEC producers. 

OPEC's Secretary General, Mohammad Barkindo, said January data showed conformity from participating OPEC countries with output cuts had been above 90% and oil inventories will decline further this year. 

Nigeria's Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, said the country's oil production increased to 2.2 million bpd.  Last week, Nigeria's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said the country's oil production was between 1.7 million and 1.8 million bpd. 

Nigeria's Qua Iboe crude exports is expected to load an average 221,667 bpd in April, down 115,430 bpd month on month from the March program, according to a preliminary loading program. 

Energy Transfer Partners said it expects to have every federal permit for the Rover Pipeline by Thursday.  It also stated that the Dakota Access Pipeline has received all federal authorizations necessary to complete its construction.  The pipeline is now 99% complete.

Gasoline stocks held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub in the week ending February 22nd fell by 4.29% on the week and by 10.14% on the year to 1.161 million tons.  Gasoil stocks fell by 3.8% on the week and by 12.26% on the year to 2.964 million tons. 

According to the International Enterprise Singapore, the country's residual fuels stocks in the week ending February 22nd increased by 2.587 million barrels to 26.647 million barrels on the week.  Singapore's light distillates stocks increased by 440,000 barrels to 13.201 million barrels while its middle distillates stocks fell by 1.119 million barrels to 12.587 million barrels on the week. 

China's General Administration of Customs reported that the country's exports of diesel fuel in January increased by 32.5% on the year to 960,000 tons.  Its gasoline exports in January increased by 1.3% on the year to 600,000 tons while its kerosene exports fell by 12.4% on the year to 820,000 tons.


Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Apr $54.03, down 42 cents   

RBOB - Mar $1.5031, down 2.61 cents  

HO - Mar $1.6383, down 1.82 cents   


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Traders continue to decipher impact of OPEC cuts on market

February 23, 2017

Recap:  Oil futures continue to trend within the tight range established back in January, as uncertainty over price direction remains in place. Traders are trying to decipher through recent OPEC cuts, and ramped up U.S. production, in what appears to be efforts at taking advantage of such cuts, and the impact each is having on this market. April WTI settled at $53.59 a barrel, down 74 cents, or 1.36%, while April Brent fell 82 cents, or 1.45%, to settle at $55.84 a barrel.

Along with outright price gains, calendar spreads have been tightening on growing belief that OPEC and other major producers are cutting back on production with enough discipline, raising thoughts that the global overflow will soon dissipate. The April/June WTI spread has narrowed steadily since the middle of January. At the start of the year, this spread was trading within the -1.30 range and has since narrowed to -56 cents. This is a 56% gain of April to June. With the narrowing of spreads, comes the narrowing of the profitability to store supplies.

March RBOB gained 1.93 cents to settle at $1.5133 a gallon, while March heating oil settled at $1.6296 a gallon, down 1.29 cents, or 0.8%.

Fundamental News:  Qatar's Energy Minister, Mohammed Al-Sada, stated that it is too early to say whether oil producers will extend their output reduction agreement when members of OPEC meet in May.  He stated that the main focus of the meeting will be global inventories and whether output cuts have managed to lower them towards their five year average.  Separately, he stated that oil prices need to be over $50/barrel to encourage oil sector investment.

OPEC sources stated that the eleven non-OPEC producers that joined a global deal to cut output delivered at least 60% of promised cuts so far.  Two OPEC delegates said compliance by Russia and the other 10 countries was now estimated at 66% while a third said it was 60% at least.  It is up from earlier estimates of 40%.  Compliance numbers were reviewed at a meeting in Vienna on Wednesday comprised of officials from Kuwait, Venezuela, Algeria and non-OPEC Russia and Oman.  Saudi Arabia also attended the meeting. 

Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports fell to 8.014 million bpd in December, down 3.3% from a record high seen in November.  Despite the decline, Saudi exports are still up more than 7% compared with December 2015 when they were reported at 7.486 million bpd.  Exports averaged 7.648 million bpd over the course of 2016, up 3.5% from 7.39 million bpd the previous year.  Wellhead production in the country was 10.465 million bpd in December, down 2.38% from 10.72 million bpd in November when the OPEC output cut agreement was reached.  The country burned 353,000 bpd of crude for desalination and power generation in December, down 7% year on year. 

Oman's oil production fell to 884,000 bpd in January from 909,000 bpd in December and from 923,000 bpd in October 2016.  The National Center for Statistics and Information showed that Oman cut its production in January by more than 39,000 bpd from the October level for a drop of 4.4%, falling short of its pledge to cut output by 5% in the first six months of the year. 

Enbridge stated that a portion of a 442,000 bpd oil pipeline in Canada remains shut after it was struck by a contractor on Friday.  The pipeline, Line 2A, runs from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin and carries light oils and condensates.  The portion that runs from Edmonton to Hardisty, Alberta, remained shut on Tuesday morning.

Early Market Call - as of 9:20 AM EDT

WTI - Apr $54.79 up $1.20

RBOB - Mar $1.5492 up 3.59 cents

HO - Mar $1.6698 up 4.02 cents


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Oil futures hit highest level since July 2015

February 22, 2017

Recap:  Oil futures climbed to their highest level since July 2015, on strong belief that OPEC members are sticking to their agreement to cut output. Current adherence to the cuts sits at just over 90%. April WTI peaked above $55 a barrel, while April Brent broke above $57 a barrel. Gains were severed as the session progressed, with April WTI settling at $54.33, up 55 cents, or 1%, while April Brent finished at $56.66, up 48 cents, or 0.85%.

RBOB futures dragged the rest of the complex lower, as the March contract fell 2.26 cents, or -1.5%, to settle at $1.4940 a gallon. March heating oil finished up 0.6 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $1.6425 a gallon.

Fundamental News: OPEC's Secretary General, Mohammed Barkindo, said that while confidence has returned to the oil market due to agreed output cuts, it is too early to say whether the output cut agreement should be extended.  He said any decision to extend the agreement past June will depend on global stock levels and an assessment of market fundamentals.  He said January data showed conformity from participating OPEC countries with output cuts above 90% and added that oil inventories would decline further this year.  He also said that he expected non-OPEC countries to raise their compliance.  He said he was cautiously optimistic on the outlook of the oil market.

Iran's Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, said OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers are committed to their crude production cut.  

According to Petrologistics, OPEC increased its oil exports in the first two weeks of February, a sign the group could be slipping back after record compliance in its first month of output cuts.  It reported that the first 15 days of February have seen exports increase above the trailing average following a large decline in January.  Exports from OPEC countries in the first two weeks of February were higher than the average level from October 2015 to September 2016. 

The Joint Organizations Data Initiative reported that Saudi Arabia increased its oil exports and production last year to the highest monthly averages on record.  Exports increased to 7.65 million bpd on average last year from 7.39 million bpd a year earlier.

Iraq's Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abdi said the country needs oil prices to reach $60/barrel to plug the public deficit gap. 

Iran is set to sign a contract with Russia in the next 15 days to sell 100,000 barrels of oil. 

Vitol's executive committee member, Russell Hardy, said transport will be the main driver of demand growth for refined oil products, especially in Asia.  Vitol expects about 400 million cars to be added to the global fleet over the next 10 years, with China and India being the main growth countries.  Vitol expects global demand for diesel and gasoline to peak in 2027-2028 as the efficiency of engines continues to improve and assuming about 100 million electric vehicles are on the road.  However, demand growth for oil products in aviation and petrochemicals will continue long after. 

Rosneft signed investment and crude purchasing agreements with Libya's National Oil Corp as more international companies return to Libya to gain access to Africa's largest reserves. 

US gasoline margins fell to their lowest level since October 2015 on fears that record inventories may persist amid signs of weakening demand.  The gasoline crack spread fell by more than 7% to a low of $9.30/gallon in early trading on Tuesday. 

Kinder Morgan Canada will limit crude nominations on its Trans Mountain Pipeline System by 25% in March, meaning the line will carry 75% of nominated volumes.  March volumes on the Trans Mountain mainline system are expected to average 296,105 bpd, down from 326,280 bpd in February.  Throughput on the Puget Sound Pipeline is expected to average 136,546 bpd in March, down from 146,833 bpd in February. 


Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Apr $53.59, down 75 cents

RBOB - Mar $1.4894, down 47 points

HO - Mar $1.6124, down 3.05 cents 


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WTI fell for first time in 5 weeks on rising U.S. production

February 21, 2017

Recap:  Oil futures finished close to unchanged on Friday, with March WTI trading within a $1.31 weekly range, as it fell for the first time in 5 weeks. Pressure was provided by strength in the dollar, bursting U.S. stockpiles and rising U.S. production. March WTI finished the week at $53.40 a barrel, up 4 cents on the day, or 0.07%, but down 0.85% on the week. April Brent tacked on 16 cents, or 0.29%, to settle at $55.81 a barrel.

March RBOB fell less than a cent to $1.517 a gallon, for a loss of approximately 4.6% for the week, while March heating oil ended at $1.636 a gallon, up under a cent for a weekly decline of 1.8%. 

Fundamental NewsOil Movements reported that OPEC shipments will increase by 0.2% to 23.93 million bpd in the four weeks ending March 4th compared with the four week period to February 4th.

Baker Hughes reported that US energy companies added oil rigs for a fifth consecutive week.  Drillers added six oil rigs in the week ending February 17th, bringing the total count up to 597, the largest amount of rigs since October 2015. 

TransCanada is again seeking approval of its Keystone XL pipeline route in Nebraska in the latest move to push the project forward since getting approval from US President Donald Trump.  The energy company said the application it filed with the Nebraska Public Service Commission on Thursday is the clearest path to achieving route certainty, adding that it expects a decision from the commission by the end of the year. 

Enbridge Inc said the Mainline crude oil pipeline system is getting close to full utilization.  It has over 400,000 bpd of expansion opportunities on its Mainline system, in addition to Line 3 replacement project.  The Dakota Access Pipeline could be in service as soon as the second quarter of 2017. 

Iraq's Oil Minister, Jabar Al-Luaibi, said Iraq plans to acquire a large fleet of oil tankers to transport the country's crude to global markets.  The country's tanker fleet was largely destroyed during the US-led offensive to dislodge Iraq from Kuwait in 1991. 

Colonial Pipeline Co is allocating Cycle 13 shipments on Line 2, its main distillate line from Houston, Texas to Greensboro, North Carolina.

Traders said gasoline margins fell by more than 11% early Friday morning, hitting a one-year low on fears of oversupply and weakening demand. 

European diesel refining margins weakened on Friday as imports into the region remained strong.  Strong demand in the Mediterranean continued to attract cargoes from northern Europe, the Baltics and the US Gulf Coast.  More than 1 million tons are expected to reach Europe and the Mediterranean in February.  Exports from the US are expected to be relatively high in February at around 900,000 tons. 

Nigeria's exports of Qua Iboe crude are set to fall to 222,000 bpd in April from 276,000 bpd planned in March.  Loading delays of six to nine days have forced multiple changes to loading plans for the entire year.  Meanwhile, Nigeria's exports of Bonny Light crude are set to increase to 227,000 bpd in April.

IIR reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 1.621 million bpd of capacity in the week ending February 17th, cutting available refining capacity by 102,000 bpd from the previous week.  IIR expects offline capacity to fall to 1.116 million bpd in the week ending February 24th and 1.036 million bpd in the following week. 


Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Mar $54.60, up $1.20

RBOB - Mar $1.5272, up 1.19 cents 

HO - Mar $1.6720, up 3.57 cents 


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Oil futures continued to trade within range agreed upon with OPEC output cuts

February 17, 2017

Recap:  Oil futures continued to trade within the $5 range that had been established as of the agreement between OPEC and other major producers to cut back on output. March WTI climbed aboard the rollercoaster once again, beginning the session on the ascending leg of its three month journey within the aforementioned range, only to freefall to the session's low of $52.68. Prices regained traction as the dollar weakened, March WTI finished the session, up 25 cents, or 0.47%, to settle at $53.36. April Brent settled at $55.65 a barrel, down 10 cents, or 0.18%.

March RBOB settled at $1.525 a gallon, down 2.3 cents, or 1.5%, while March heating oil finished down less than half a cent at $1.629 a gallon.

Fundamental NewsGenscape reported that crude oil stocks held in Cushing, Oklahoma fell by 2 million barrels in the week ending February 13th.

OPEC sources stated that OPEC could extend its oil supply reduction agreement with non-members or even apply deeper cuts from July if global oil inventories fail to drop to a targeted level.  The sources said, producing countries must comply 100% with the supply agreement and growth in demand for crude will have to remain high for global petroleum inventories to fall by about 300 million barrels to the five year average.  OPEC is scheduled to meet on May 25th to decide on supply policy. 

Russia's Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said Russian crude producers may cut oil production by more than 100,000 bpd this month, more than initially planned under the OPEC deal.  He said Russia will honor its promise to cut oil production and expects other producers to do the same.  He said also Russia will achieve its required 300,000 bpd cut in May and June.  The Oil Minister however stated that Russia may increase its oil exports by between 4% and 5.5% this year to 265-269 million tons. 

The head of Kuwait Oil Co, Jamal Jaafar, said the country is sticking with plans to add 500,000 bpd of oil production capacity as it prepares for the eventual expiration of the output quotas OPEC adopted to help cut the global oversupply.  He said KOC plans to raise the country's oil output from its current level of 3.15 million bpd. 

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister, Amir Hossein Zamania, said the country is currently exporting an average of 2.086 million bpd and 484,000 bpd of condensate. 

Bloomberg reported that Iraqi crude shipments increased by 3% in the first half of February to 3.93 million bpd.  It is 122,000 bpd more than the average for all of January.  Shipments from the southern Iraqi port of Basra increased by 10% while sales by the Kurdish Regional Government increased by 13%. 

Angola's crude oil exports in April are expected to increase to 1.691 million bpd, according to a provisional loading plan.  Angola exported 1.73 million bpd of crude in 2016, down 2% from the previous year.  It exported a total of 631,475,774 barrels of crude at an average of $40.54/barrel. 

Gasoline stocks held in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub in the week ending February 16th increased by 22.9% on the week but fell by 3.65% on the year to 1.213 million tons.  Gasoil stocks fell by 2.81% on the week and by 9.99% on the year to 3.081 million tons.


Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Mar $53.00, down 36 cents

RBOB - Mar $1.4878, down 3.69 cents

HO - Mar $1.6147, down 1.44 cents 


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WTI traded within 30 cents of unchanged on last trading day for March options

February 16, 2017

Recap:  On the last trading day for March options, WTI traded within 30 cents of unchanged; on both the positive and negative side.  Record high crude oil and gasoline inventories pressured prices, while weakness in the dollar provided light support. March WTI was little changed, settling at $53.11 a barrel, down 9 cents, or 0.17%. April Brent settled at $55.75 a barrel, down 22 cents, or 0.4%.

March RBOB rose less than half a penny to $1.548 a gallon while March heating oil settled at $1.631 a gallon, down under a cent. With PADD 1 gasoline stocks reaching a record high, the March gasoline crack has turned lower once again, settling the session at $11.77.

Fundamental NewsThe EIA reported that US crude oil stocks in the week ending February 10th increased by 9.527 million barrels to the highest level on record of 1.213 billion barrels, with crude stocks in the Gulf Coast increasing to a record level of 274.4 million barrels. Gasoline stocks increased to the highest level on record as well, with stocks increasing by 2.846 million barrels to 259.1 million barrels.

A board member with Libya's National Oil Corp, Jadalla Alaokali, said Libya is currently producing more than 700,000 bpd.  He added that the country's production should increase to 1.2 million by August.  The El Feel oil field is expected to resume operations as soon as one month from now, adding 75,000 bpd to the country's output. 

Iran's Oil Minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, said oil export capacity has increased to 2.8 million bpd from about 1.2 million bpd.  Separately, Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia said Iran will decide on at least half of a planned $70 billion in energy projects in a few short months.   

Oman's Oil Minister, Mohammad Al-Rumhy, said oil prices are expected to increase mid-year on output cuts.  He also stated that there is room for non-OPEC countries to cut output further as part of a supply deal agreement with OPEC producers.  He expects Russia's compliance with the agreement to be better in February and March.    

Russian Energy Ministry official, Pavel Sorokin, said the country sees oil prices at $50-$55/barrel this year. 

OPEC will publish a report late February focusing on the stability of the market as it reacts to the organization's output cut and the new US administration energy policy.  The report will help in formalizing a clear policy to help stabilize the global market.  The OPEC ministerial committee monitoring the output reduction will hold its second meeting on February 17th to discuss the February report.  Meanwhile, the report will look into energy policies proposed by the Trump administration.   

Genscape reported that crude inventories in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp area fell by 2.63 million barrels to 55.26 million barrels in the week ending February 10th.

BMI said it revised its Saudi crude production capacity upwards to 11.21 million bpd in 2026 from 10.41 million bpd and compared with 10.33 million bpd in 2017.  Separately, BMI stated that Iraq only managed 40% compliance with the OPEC cuts in January and added that not improving on this could prove problematic to group cohesion.   

North Dakota's oil production in December fell by more than 92,000 bpd to 942,455 bpd, according to the state's Pipeline Authority. 

IIR reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 1.652 million bpd of capacity in the week ending February 17th, cutting available capacity by 133,000 bpd from the previous week.  IIR expects offline capacity to fall to 1.274 million bpd in the week ending February 24th. 


Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Mar $53.47, up 36 cents  

RBOB - Mar $1.5361, down 1.2 cents  

HO - Mar $1.6426, up 1.21 cents  


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U.S. shale output continues to undermine OPEC oil production cuts

February 15, 2017

Recap:  As has been the news for the past several days, oil prices gained as OPEC production cuts slowly continue to eat away at the global oversupply. And as they rose, prices slipped to below unchanged, as U.S. shale output continues to undermine OPEC cuts and a rise in the dollar kept gains at bay. March WTI topped the session at $53.72 before paring gains to settle at $53.20, up 27 cents, or 0.51%. April Brent settled at $55.97, up 38 cents, up 0.68%.

March RBOB finished up 1.2 cents, or 0.8%, to $1.556 a gallon, while March heating oil gained 1.8 cents, or 1.1%, to $1.645 a gallon.

Fundamental News: Genscape reported that crude oil stocks held in Cushing, Oklahoma fell by 50,000 barrels to 65.22 million barrels in the week ending February 10th.  Genscape stated that the Enterprise-operated 400,000 bpd Seaway legacy pipeline has experienced two leaks in the last four months, leading to increasing stocks in Cushing, Oklahoma.

IHS reported that crude and refined product shipments from the US Gulf fell to 3.66 million metric tons on 92 ships in the week ending February 9th.  It is down 12% from the previous week's 4.18 million metric tons on 99 ships. 

According to Bloomberg, preliminary US waterborne crude imports increased by 148,100 bpd to 4.3 million bpd in the week ending February 9th.  Imports in the East Coast fell to 257,100 bpd to 581,100 bpd while imports in the Gulf Coast and West Coast increased by 392,900 bpd and 12,200 bpd, respectively.  Total crude and product imports fell by 240,400 bpd to 5.7 million bpd. 

Iraq's oil exports are expected to fall to a seven month low in March as ongoing maintenance at some of its biggest fields coincides with a seasonal decline in shipments.  Iraq is expected to export 3.01 million bpd of crude from its Persian Gulf terminals, down from 3.64 million bpd in February.  

Libya's National Oil Corp loaded its first crude oil at a new floating storage and offloading vessel in the Mediterranean on Saturday.  The new floating and offloading vessel, Gaza, will be operated by Mellitah Oil and Gas, a joint venture of NOC and Italy's Eni.  Gaza will provide 1.5 million barrels of storage for the offshore field.  Libya's output in January reached 715,000 bpd.  The company plans to lift its moratorium on international investments and is targeting oil production of 1.25 million bpd by the end of the year.

China's General Administration of Customs reported that the country imported 34.03 million tons of crude in January, down 6.5% from 36.38 million metric tons in December despite increasing 27.5% on the year.  China's oil product exports in January fell by 43.2% from December to 3.04 million tons.   

BP's CEO, Bob Dudley, said that US shale oil production will keep a check on any rallies in oil prices.  He sees $55-$60/barrel as a healthy price for crude oil. 

IHS Markit said oil will be in a range from $50 to $60/barrel in 2017. 

ABN Amro cut its first and second quarter Brent price forecast by $5 to $50/barrel.  Its WTI forecast for the first quarter was lowered to $45/barrel.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, signaled the central bank could consider raising short-term interest rates at its next policy meeting in March and sounded an optimistic note on the economy in testimony to Congress on Tuesday.  She said if job gains and rising inflation continue as the Fed expects, an increase in the federal funds rate likely would be appropriate at its upcoming meetings. 


Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Mar $53.00, down 20 cents   

RBOB - Mar $1.5534, up 69 points

HO - Mar $1.6309, down 72 points   


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Weakness in market pushed oil prices lower on Monday

February 14, 2017

Recap:  Oil prices moved lower on Monday from what appears to be underlying weakness in this market, as increased production in the U.S. continues to work against output cuts by OPEC producers. March WTI stopped on the upside just below $54 a barrel, stemming gains made last week. Prices reversed to the downside as the dollar strengthened, with March WTI breaking below support set by the 30 and 10-day moving averages of $53.23 and $53.10 respectively. This spot contract finished at $52.93 a barrel, down 93 cents, or 1.73%. Brent for April delivery slipped $1.11 or 1.96%, to settle at $55.59 a barrel.

After staging a comeback last week, the March RBOB/WTI crack spread once again pared gains to settle at $11.94, down 96 cents. March RBOB slipped 4.5 cents, or 2.8%, to settle at $1.5446. March heating oil fell 3.86 cents, or 2.3%, to $1.6273 a gallon.

Fundamental NewsOPEC reported that it complied with its output cut agreement by more than 90% in January.  Supply from the 11 OPEC members with production targets under the deal fell to 29.888 million bpd in January.  This amounts to 93% compliance.  Saudi Arabia cut its output to 9.748 million bpd.  OPEC raised its 2017 world oil demand growth forecast to 1.19 million bpd compared with a previous forecast of 1.16 million bpd.  It also raised its 2017 non-OPEC oil supply growth forecast to 240,000 bpd from a previous increase of 120,000 bpd.

OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Barkindo, said preliminary numbers show a very high level of compliance with supply cuts.  He is confident the supply cut deal will bring down inventories to around 5 year industry average during 2017.  He added that it was too early to say if the supply cut deal needs to be extended beyond June. 

Saudi Arabia told OPEC that it has cut its output by 717,600 bpd in January to 9.748 million bpd, the most in more than eight years.  Saudi Arabia's data indicates that it is producing 310,000 bpd below its specified target.

Kuwait's Oil Minister, Essam al-Marzouq, said current oil prices were good and are expected to increase with higher compliance to an output cut deal agreed to by OPEC and non-OPEC producers.  He added that compliance was 92% while that of non-OPEC producers was 50%.  He urged oil suppliers outside the group to fulfill their commitments to cut output and added that prices will increase once producers demonstrate better compliance with their agreement.   

The UAE's Oil Minister, Suhail Al-Mazrouei, said the country will meet its pledged level of output cuts.  The country will make deeper cuts in production when maintenance starts at the Abu Dhabi oil field in late March or April. 

Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Minister, Delcy Eloina Rodriguez Gomez, said oil exporting countries will continue their coordination to reach final stabilization of the oil market.  She said the oil market will most likely stabilize following the agreement signed in Algiers by OPEC.   

JBC Energy estimates the 11 non-OPEC nations that agreed to cut production by a combined 558,000 bpd during the first half of 2017 have so far cut 147,000 bpd compared with December's levels. 

Nigeria's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said the country lost at least 1 million bpd of oil output as sabotage and attacks on oil installations peaked from 2015. 

IIR reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 1.466 million bpd of capacity in the week ending February 17th, increasing available refining capacity by 13,000 bpd from the previous week.  IIR expects offline capacity to fall to 1.224 million bpd in the week ending February 24th. 


Early Market Call - as of 9:30 AM EDT

WTI - Mar $53.62, up 69 cents

RBOB - Mar $1.5691, up 2.45 cents

HO - Mar $1.6515, up 2.39 cents 


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