News

Gasoline Price Hike Update: Retail Prices up 45 Cents per Gallon

March 3, 2015

March 3, 2015 by David Hackett Retail gasoline prices in Southern California are going up rapidly. I spoke about the reasons why on Saturday’s NBC Nightly News. Last week we wrote an article that discussed the rapid rise in retail gasoline prices in Southern California. Using EIA’s weekly retail data, we showed that the price of regular gasoline at the...
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Gasoline Price Hike: Why are Southern California Gasoline Prices on the Rise?

February 25, 2015

February 25, 2015 by David Hackett The press has been buzzing with gasoline price stories since the ExxonMobil Torrance refinery suffered an explosion last week, limiting the amount of gasoline it produces. Indeed retail prices are suddenly 25% higher. Using the EIA’s weekly retail price data, the chart below shows retail gasoline prices in Los Angeles bottomed the beginning of...
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The U.S. Side of the U.S.-China GHG Agreement: The Impossible Dream

February 25, 2015 ,

February 23, 2015 by Dave Hirshfeld, MathPro Inc. In November 2014, the Presidents of the U.S. and China agreed to new curbs on the two countries’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, stating that: “The U.S. intends to reduce its emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level by 2025 and to make its best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%.” “China...
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What Happened to California’s Cap-and-Trade Gasoline Price Hike?

January 19, 2015

January 19, 2015 by David Hackett Oil industry observers, including the Downstream Wizard, predicted that California retail gasoline prices would go up around New Year’s Day as transportation fuels would come under California’s Cap-and-Trade regulation. At current prices for carbon, Covered Entities like refiners and marketers who pay the tax on fuels, should be passing through about 10 cents per...
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Gas Price Slide Will Boost Bay Area Consumer Spending

January 13, 2015

January 11, 2015 by Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News Bay Area drivers are already celebrating the recent collapse in oil prices, but if it lasts it will have broader economic implications, putting billions of dollars a year directly into the wallets of residents and helping to stimulate the region’s already robust economy. And a lot of that money is...
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The Changing Landscape of Crude Oil Movements to the West Coast

December 11, 2014

The Changing Landscape of Crude Oil Movements to the West Coast. Dave Hackett’s presentation to the Moving Crude Supplies to West Coast End Markets conference on December 3, 2014. With the shale boom, and the surge in crude-by-rail, crude oil movements to the west coast have changed significantly in a short time. This presentation gives an overview of the changes...
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The CBO Finds Future RFS Volume Mandates Pose “Significant Challenges”

December 10, 2014

December 5, 2014   by Dave Hirshfeld, MathPro Inc. In June 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published an analysis of the feasibility and economic implications of achieving future annual renewable fuel mandate volumes1 for the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Here in Regulation City, refining industry advocates praised the CBO analysis; ethanol industry advocates trashed it. Elsewhere, the report...
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Oil Import Decline to U.S. Revealed by Louisiana as Truth

November 6, 2014

November 5, 2014 by Dan Murtaugh, Zain Shauk and Lynn Doan, Bloomberg Things are slowing down at the U.S.’s largest oil-import hub. Just six years after importing more than 1 million barrels a day from countries including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Iraq, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port is receiving just half of that from overseas, highlighting a nationwide trend at...
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Highlights from the 2014 OPIS Supply Summit

October 31, 2014

October 30, 2014 by David Hackett The presentations at this year’s OPIS National Supply Summit reflected the dynamics of petroleum markets in North America. Much of the conversation was on the impact of continuing growth of crude oil production in the Mid Continent. The topics include crude oil pipeline development, crude-by-rail and plenty of discussion on the crude oil export...
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ANS Feels the Squeeze on the West Coast

October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014   On Monday with WTI priced at $81 per barrel, Eagle Ford and WTI-Midland were listed at parity with WTI. Bakken at Clearbrook came in at $13 under WTI. While the Western Canadian Select differential has narrowed to $7 under WTI. While we’re seeing discounts in the Mid Continent, prices on the coasts continue to drop. Brent...
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Alaska’s Oil Piles Up at Port as Barrels Wait for a Ride

October 27, 2014

October 21, 2014 by Lynn Doan and Dan Murtaugh, Bloomberg Stockpiles of oil from Alaska’s North Slope have surged to a five-year seasonal high as tanker maintenance slows loadings, forcing the grade to trade at a discount to U.S. crude for the first time since 2010. Inventories at the Valdez terminal, the northernmost ice-free port in North America and the...
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LCFS and Cap & Trade – Is Greenhouse Gas Regulation Coming Soon to a State Near You?

October 27, 2014

Dave Hackett’s presentation at the Annual OPIS Supply Summit on October 27, 2014. This presentation discusses the current California LCFS and Cap & Trade regulations and how they are affecting the transportation fuels industry in the state. It also explores the status of clean fuels and low carbon fuel standards being considered in other states around the country. VIEW PRESENTATION...
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Shale Boom Helping American Consumers as Never Before

October 20, 2014

October 17, 2014 by Dan Murtaugh and Lynn Doan, Bloomberg Oil traders might see the 27 percent slide in global prices as a bear market. For U.S. consumers, it’s more like an early holiday gift. The drop in crude has pulled retail gasoline down more than 50 cents a gallon from the year’s high in April. That means annual savings...
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Pump Prices Fall to Lowest Since 2011 Amid Oil Slump

October 20, 2014

October 15, 2014 by Dan Murtaugh and Lynn Doan, Bloomberg Regular gasoline in the U.S. fell to the lowest level in more than three-and-a-half years as shale oil production and weak global demand spurred a four-month slump in oil prices. The average retail price fell 0.9 cents a gallon to $3.177, Heathrow Florida-based motoring group AAA said on its website...
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Navigating Changes in Transportation Energy

October 16, 2014

Dave Hackett’s presentation to the Quest Club of Bakersfield on the fundamental problem the energy industry faces in the Mid Continent. The presentation also takes a look at the Pacific Basin and suggests additional solutions. VIEW PRESENTATION

Orphaned Russian Oil Heads to U.S. West on Asia Overflow

October 8, 2014

October 3, 2014 by Lynn Doan, Bloomberg One of Russia’s prized oils, facing increased competition in Asia, is traveling to a rather unlikely destination: the U.S. West Coast. As the U.S. threatens President Vladimir Putin with further economic sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, light Sokol oil from Russia’s Far East is showing up in California for the first time...
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Lone Star State Makes it Inside the Bubble

September 26, 2014

September 26, 2014   Crude oil prices in the Texas tight oil producing regions are suffering from the same over-supply problem as the Mid Continent. There’s a lot of crude oil in Texas and prices reflect the oversupply. For that reason, the Bubble has been stretched a bit to include the Lone Star State. Prices for WTI-Midland and Eagle Ford...
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California Replaces Oil by Rail from Canada with Domestic

September 17, 2014

September 8, 2014 by Lynn Doan, Blooomberg California, the nation’s largest gasoline market, has cut its oil-by-rail volumes from Canada by 86 percent this year while buying more crude made in America. The most populous U.S. state received 3,142 barrels a day by rail from Canada in July, down from 6,669 in June and a peak of 22,871 in December,...
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Catching Up with Crude-by-Rail

September 10, 2014

Advances in drilling have brought about an energy boom in the U.S. This boom has led to a dramatic shift in crude oil logistics. To make up for the lack of pipeline capacity, producers have turned to moving crude-by-rail (CBR). In this complimentary webinar, we will discuss the rapid growth of CBR from production in the Mid Continent to refineries...
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Kern County mounts defense of oil train shipments

August 25, 2014

August 24, 2014 by Tony Bizjak and Curtis Tate, The Sacramento Bee KERN COUNTY – In Sacramento and the Bay Area, recent plans to run trains laden with crude oil through downtowns to coastal refineries have prompted fears and protests this summer. But, here in the southern San Joaquin Valley, where oil has served as economic lifeblood for more than...
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Why fracking boom isn’t driving down Seattle gas prices

August 25, 2014

August 23, 2014 Angel Gonzalez, The Seattle Times In Seattle, America’s energy boom can be seen but not felt. At least not at the gas pump. Trains bearing crude oil cross the city’s busy core every day, connecting North Dakota’s prolific oil fields to refineries on the coast. Yet gasoline prices here have remained stubbornly high, even as an abundance...
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Global Wins, Tesoro Waits on Bringing Bakken Oil West

August 20, 2014

August 20, 2014 by Lynn Doan, Bloomberg Just as Global Partners LP (GLP) gained approval to unload more oil from rail cars at a marine terminal in Oregon, Tesoro Corp. (TSO) learned its plans for a similar project in neighboring Washington will have to wait. The projects are among several oil-by-rail proposals facing rising opposition after a series of derailments...
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Casino Royale: California’s Fuels Under the Cap Program

August 19, 2014 ,

August 19, 2014 by David Hackett Market participants are starting to speculate about the next phase of Cap & Trade under California’s AB32 the Global Warming Solutions Act. That phase, Fuels Under the Cap, is designed to control Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuel, including gasoline, diesel, propane and natural gas. The first phase of Cap & Trade includes...
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Crude oil is crude oil – right? Wrong!

August 19, 2014

August 19, 2014 by Barry Schaps Recently, veterans in the oil industry have been questioning their long held assumptions about what really constitutes crude oil produced at the wellhead. One may ask, with everything else going on in the world, “Why is this important?” The short and simple answer is that “traditional crude oil” (loosely defined as liquid hydrocarbons from...
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San Francisco Gets Fuel from Los Angeles as Gap Widens

August 19, 2014

August 18, 2014 by Lynn Doan, Bloomberg Spot gasoline in San Francisco at the highest premium to Los Angeles in two weeks has opened an arbitrage for fuel to flow north. Spot California-blend gasoline in the San Francisco Bay area gained 1 cent a gallon versus the same fuel in Los Angeles to a premium of 8 cents, its highest...
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Exclusive: Oil-by-rail project for shut California refinery nears approval

August 15, 2014

August 15, 2014 By Kristen Hays, Reuters The first new crude-by-rail project at a California refinery is likely to win approval next month after more than a year of scrutiny, the head of the Kern County planning division told Reuters, and it could help reopen the shuttered plant. The facility at independent refiner Alon USA Energy Inc.’s Bakersfield plant would...
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Permian’s Newest Gusher Creating Wave of Investments

August 7, 2014

August 6, 2014 by Dan Murtaugh, Bloomberg The gusher of crude from the Permian Basin has spurred new investments from refinery and pipeline companies trying to take advantage of low prices caused by rising supplies. Delek US Holdings Inc. (DK) expects to expand its refinery in Tyler, Texas, by 25 percent in early 2015, and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP (SXL)...
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California Takes Record Volumes of Oil by Rail from Utah

August 7, 2014

August 6, 2014 by Lynn Doan, Bloomberg California, home to two-thirds of refining capacity in the western U.S., brought in a record volume of waxy oil by rail from Utah in June as crude imports from Canada and North Dakota slid. The state, the biggest gasoline market in the U.S., received 2,737 barrels a day of oil by rail from...
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Obama’s Safer Oil Train Plan Faces Rule Making Hurdles

July 29, 2014

It could take more than three years to fully halt the shipment of them most flammable liquids in the most dangerous rail cars. By Elizabeth Douglass, Inside Climate News The Obama Administration’s proposal Wednesday for making oil-laden railcars safer runs 203 pages and includes a host of new rules for carrying flammable fuels by train – but they come with...
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Stillwater Offers Webinars on Petroleum Logistics

June 25, 2014

June 24, 2014 by Michael Soares Stillwater Associates has begun to offer webinars on subjects related to the distribution of refined petroleum products. We have found that webinars are a great way to conveniently offer our expertise in a manner that is a lot less expensive than a residence seminar. In this way we can offer attendees an opportunity ask...
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The Low Carbon Fuel Standard Continues to Evolve

June 25, 2014

June 24, 2014 by Leigh Noda Now in its fourth year to meet a ten-year target, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) continues to be an evolving regulation. With the extension of the 2013 standard to 2014, and the concepts discussed below that CARB introduced in March, we see a regulatory trend of CARB expanding the potential for LCFS credit...
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California and Crude-by-Rail

June 24, 2014

June 24, 2014 by David Hackett The success of drilling technology in North America’s Mid Continent has lead to a huge increase in crude oil production. In 2010, crude oil production in North Dakota was about 310 thousand barrels per day (kbd). This year, production is expected to reach 1 million barrels per day. Light sweet crude oil from the...
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California’s Oil Refiners Double Crude-by-Rail Volumes

May 5, 2014

May 2, 2014 By Lynn Doan, Bloomberg California, the most-populous U.S. state and biggest gasoline market, more than doubled the volume of oil it received by train in the first quarter as deliveries from Canada surged. The third-largest oil-refining state unloaded 1.41 million barrels in the first quarter, up from 693,457 a year ago, data on the state Energy Commission’s...
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Occidental’s California Spawn to Dominate Oil Drive

April 11, 2014

February 14, 2014 by Bradley Olson, Bloomberg The new California crude explorer planned by Occidental (OXY) Petroleum Corp. will emerge as the leading player in the state’s drive to dominate the U.S. oil boom. Believers in a revival of California’s former status as the nation’s biggest producer will find the ideal investment vehicle: a high-growth producer drilling the vast Monterey...
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U.S. West Gasoline Output Surges to Record on Blending, Exports

April 11, 2014

April 9, 2014 by Lynn Doan, Bloomberg Gasoline output in the western U.S. jumped to a record as refiners and blenders boosted production to meet stricter environmental regulations and tankers were seen exporting fuel from the region. Finished gasoline on the U.S. West Coast, known as the PADD 5 region rose 6.7 percent to 1.7 million barrels a day in...
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The Fuel Supply Chain & RINs

April 10, 2014

RINs prices have gone way up since the beginning of the year. This presentation offers a little explanation of how RINs flow through the fuel supply chain and why the cost of RINs have gone up recently. VIEW PRESENTATION

The Effect of Crude-by-Rail on Refining and Logistics

April 4, 2014

On April 25th, Dave Hackett delivered a presentation at the 2014 AFPM Annual Meeting entitled The Effect of Crude-by-Rail on Refining and Logistics. Everyone in the crude oil supply chain is interested in crude-by-rail (CBR), but there are problems that have to be solved.  Crude oil production in the Mid Continent has run way ahead of infrastructure. CBR is helping...
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Upstream Commercial Support: A Simple Example for Design of Export Facilities

March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014 by Michael W. Bloch Often when Upstream projects are under development, it maybe difficult for design engineers to see beyond a specific set of capital investment goals. It is important that new Upstream projects be reviewed with a Downstream perspective in advance of making decisions, reviewing draft development plans and commercial agreements, or agreeing to preliminary or...
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Dave Hackett Speaks to KGET about Crude by Rail

March 24, 2014

February 12, 2014 Dave Hackett spoke with KGET News Channel 17 about crude by rail projects in Bakersfield, CA. The two part series, entitled Tracking in Oil, investigates proposed crude by rail projects and discusses the benefits and challenges crude by rail projects bring to Bakersfield. Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of this informative series.

What is LNG?

March 23, 2014

March 23, 2014 by Mark Pilcher LNG has been in the news a lot lately.  Political opponents have been waging a propaganda war over the economic benefits and the environmental impact of LNG exports from the U.S.  LNG has been described as a clean transportation fuel alternative to diesel, and as an environmental Trojan Horse.  More recently, LNG has been...
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Stillwater Authors Paper on Petroleum and Renewable Fuels Supply Chain for BPC

February 28, 2014

February 4, 2014 As part of an effort to foster constructive dialogue and action on reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Energy Project has released three of five commissioned background papers on the RFS. Stillwater Associates is proud to be part of this conversation by providing a white paper entitled Petroleum and Renewable Fuels Supply...
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An Industrial Policy Success Story

February 28, 2014 ,

December 12, 2013 by David Hackett For a long time I’ve been concerned about the barriers that have been created to stifle industrial development in the United States. Here in California it is virtually impossible to create new industrial facilities. For example, we have a client who has been working for years to develop a new crude-by-rail unloading facility in...
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California Getting Record Volume of Canadian Oil by Rail

February 28, 2014

January 31, 2014 By Lynn Doan and Dan Murtaugh, Bloomberg.com California, the third-largest oil-refining state in the U.S., is bringing in a record volume of oil from Canada by rail as it faces shrinking supplies from Alaska and within the state. The most populous U.S. state received 709,014 barrels of crude from Canada by rail in December, a 4.9 percent...
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Wall St. Exploits Ethanol Credits, and Prices Spike

February 28, 2014

By Gretchen Morenson and Robert Gebeloff, NY Times It was supposed to help clean the air, reduce dependence on foreign oil and bolster agriculture. But a little known market in ethanol credits has also become a hot new game on Wall Street. The federal government created the market in special credits tied to ethanol eight years ago when it required...
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The Last Bubble Map of 2013 – ANS Skyrockets

January 24, 2014

December 12, 2013 The last Bubble Map of the year shows the Bakken discount has narrowed since we last checked in. On December 9th, Bakken at Clearbrook, MN was posted at $10 under WTI. But the WCS discount has widened to $26. Maya remains at $9 under WTI. The Brent, Louisiana Light Sweet and Alaska North Slope differentials have all...
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A Veerry Scaarrry October Bubble Map

January 24, 2014

October 18, 2013   Well…not really. But the Bakken discount has widened since we last checked in. On October 16, Bakken at Clearbrook, MN was posted at $12 under WTI. LLS was priced $1 over WTI and Brent was $9 over. San Joaquin Valley Heavy has dropped to $5 under WTI. Alaska North Slope was $2 over WTI on October...
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What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

January 24, 2014

September 9, 2013 Well, the kids are back at school and we’re all back working away. The kids will be asked, “What did you do this summer?” Our kids will be writing about Disneyland, stand-up paddle boarding (coming nose to whiskers with sea lions), and surfing in Southern California. We had a very full summer schedule at Stillwater and everyone...
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Bubble Map Update for July

January 24, 2014

July 25, 2013   Mexican Maya differential returns to the latest edition of the Bubble Map! The last time Maya appeared on the Bubble Map, way back in April, it was $7 over. We found a new price-reporting source for Maya that show it $5 under WTI on July 24th. Yesterday, Bakken at the wellhead was discounted by $22, but...
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June Bubble Map: Rail is the Big Winner

January 24, 2014

June 5, 2013   In the June Bubble Map we see some interesting differentials west of the Bubble. The WTI-San Joaquin Valley Heavy differential is the tightest we’ve seen…ever. SJVH is just a $2 premium over WTI, down from $6 in our last post. The WTI-ANS differential has also tightened to $7 over, down from $10 last month. It looks...
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Crude Oil Over Supply in the Mid Continent

January 24, 2014

January 8, 2013 We’re back in the New Year with an updated Bubble Map. Crude oil prices have gone up across the board since our last blog post on November 27. Differentials between WTI and most marker crudes have tightened, except for WCS. The WCS discount has deepened since before the holidays to $36 under WTI. Oversupply in the Mid...
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The Southern California Gas Price Spike

January 24, 2014

October 7, 2012 What happened in the spot market? Spot prices started to move up on refinery problems on 9/27. By Monday, October 1, the spot was up 30 cpg On that Monday, Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery lost power due to an equipment failure at Southern California Edison. Spot prices rose to 83 cpg to $4.22 by Wednesday. On Thursday...
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Price Differentials Inside the Bubble Improve

January 24, 2014

August 8, 2012 Crude oil prices are up considerably since our last blog post. WTI closed at $94 on August 7th, up $6. The spreads between WTI and most coastal crudes remain relatively unchanged. However, the San Joaquin Valley Heavy differential has shrunk to $5 over WTI, down from $9 last week. Discounts in the Mid Continent have tightened. Bakken’s...
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June Update on the Mid Continent Bubble

January 24, 2014

June 20, 2012 Crude oil spot prices have remained in about the same place since the last blog post, except for Western Canadian Select and Bakken.  WCS has dropped another $2 from June 1, to $22 under WTI.  The Canadian Pacific Railway strike, that ended last Friday, may have played a small part in the bottleneck.  Although CP does not...
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Update on the Mid Continent Bubble

January 24, 2014

May 17, 2012 We continue to keep a close eye on the crude oil supply situation in the mid continent. Since the last blog post, the price differentials of marker crudes have shrunk. As you can see from the map, on May 16, WTI was selling at $99 a barrel, down from $103 a barrel this time last month. Brent...
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Breaking Out of the Mid Continent Bubble

January 24, 2014

April 7, 2012   Oil market observers know that there is a disconnect between the prices of the two benchmark light sweet crude oils, West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent. In the past, these oils traded for about the same price. The difference, or spread, between WTI and Brent opened up when more and more crude oil began to...
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State of Canadian Crude Oil Supply in the U.S.

January 24, 2014

January 11, 2012 By David Hackett   The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary published “Catching the Brass Ring: Oil Market Diversification Potential for Canada” on December 15, 2011. The paper “…examines the nature and structure of the Canadian oil export market in the context of world prices for heavy crude oil and the potential price differential...
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What is the latest on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard?

January 24, 2014

January 3, 2011 By David Hackett Stillwater has been following the LCFS issues from the start and we have concerns about the feasibility of the biofuels program to meet the carbon intensity goals at an affordable price. Our calculations indicate that the regulation will increase motorists’ costs by billions of dollars per year as the transportation fuel industry is forced...
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Why is Gasoline in California so Cheap?

January 24, 2014

By David Hackett An energy analyst friend of mine from the East Coast called and asked me why gasoline prices are so cheap in California. This is a question I have been puzzling over all summer. Of course, most readers are going to say, “What are you talking about? Retail gas prices in LA are around $3.75. That’s not cheap!”...
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High Crude Oil Prices Prompt SPR Murmurs

January 24, 2014

August 22, 2012 Crude oil prices are up this week with WTI closing at $97 on August 22nd. The spreads between WTI and most coastal crudes remain relatively unchanged. The price of Bakken remains relatively in line with WTI at $1 under. The WCS discount continues to tighten to $11 under from $14 on August 14th. With global crude oil...
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BP’s Carson Refinery Sale will Shake Up the West Coast Market

November 15, 2013 ,

Update April 23, 2012: BP has continued to be tight-lipped about the Carson Refinery Sale.  Keep checking in with Stillwater to stay up-to-date on the latest refinery sale news.  Refer to our April Newsletter to find out about East Coast refinery sales.  Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to get in-depth downstream transportation energy news and analysis....
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What Causes Rack Loading Disruptions?

November 15, 2013

By Dennis Gannaway The distribution of gasoline and diesel from refineries and import points to sales terminal loading racks is a complex activity. Supply programs are often buffeted by shifting economics and a variety of intrusive factors. Most product supply groups have developed operating practices that prevent supply chain problems from affecting tankwagon customers, but past analysis has indicated room...
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Stillwater’s Problem Solving Process

November 15, 2013

Because we want to make a new client’s experience as efficient and productive as possible, we thought it would be helpful to explain the problem solving process Stillwater uses when we first meet a client. Clients come to Stillwater for two main purposes: Companies see opportunities they want to explore and evaluate. Stillwater has long and broad experience in transportation...
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