NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) – The vulnerability of physical
crude price assessments to manipulation is an open secret within
the oil industry. The surprise, perhaps, is that it took
regulators so long to open a formal probe.
Nevertheless, the revelation that the European Union raided
the offices of oil majors BP, Shell and Statoil on Tuesday in
connection with an investigation into alleged oil price
manipulation has sent shockwaves into the broader market.
NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) – For two years the dominant story
in the North American oil market has been a shortage of pipeline
capacity, leading to the buildup of gluts of oil as producers
cannot get their crude to market. That era is coming to a rapid
The end of the pipeline capacity crunch means a sea change
in the way North American oil will be priced, traded, and
balanced. With many new pipelines under long-term contracts, oil
flows will be significantly altered, potentially creating new
gluts but also pockets of scarcity.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – It does not take much of a wobble in the oil price to get traders starting to bet on action by OPEC, or at least Saudi Arabia, to cut output to put a floor under the market. But this time these hopes are coming far too soon for any prospect of real action.
For one thing, Brent crude prices are hardly that weak. While the North Sea benchmark has dropped more than $10 a barrel from its high earlier this year, it is only now in line with the $100 a barrel target embraced by most members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
NEW YORK, April 15 (Reuters) – Too many countries are net
exporters of refined oil products and those that are not harbor
ambitions to become exporters. Yet too much refining capacity is
already being added worldwide and too little is being retired.
That spells trouble for refinery profitability until low returns
trigger more closures.
The last wave of refining capacity rationalization has
largely run its course in the developed world. The United
States, Britain, Germany, Canada, Japan and Australia have all
seen multiple refineries close.
NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) – The derailment of a Canadian
Pacific Railroad train transporting crude oil in Minnesota this
week underscores the policy risks inherent in delaying the
Keystone XL pipeline amid unfettered growth in rail shipments of
Although the incident has resulted in only a small spill in
a rural area, accidents involving crude oil being shipped by
trains are inevitable, and, according to safety data, likely to
be more frequent than spills from pipelines.
NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) – Most American lawmakers
love to complain about high oil prices.
Taking a pop at “Big Oil” helps politicians project an image
of caring about ordinary people without having to do anything.
Best of all, they can rarely do anything to actually make a
difference, so they cannot be criticized for inaction. Sound and
fury, signifying nothing.
NEW YORK, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Oil major Royal Dutch Shell
and price reporting agency Platts have both come out
with proposals to reform the BFOE, or “paper Brent” market at
the core of the world’s oil benchmark.
About time, some might say. After 2012 began with oil price
spikes and squeezes amid shrinking supplies of Forties blend
crude, the key grade in the BFOE framework, calls for Brent
reform started to get loud in the spring. (See related column:
NEW YORK, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Imports of foreign crude oil by
U.S. East Coast refineries will plunge next year, leaving more
West African light sweet crude oil looking for a home in the
European or Asian markets.
New rail facilities set to open up and down the coast next
year will give regional refiners the chance to replace a
significant chunk — perhaps half or even more– of the roughly
750,000 barrels per day in non-Canadian foreign crude they
NEW YORK, Nov 21 (Reuters) – This week’s stunning collapse
in the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil at Midland,
Texas, is a stark warning to those betting on a narrowing
Brent-WTI spread for the New Year that a lot can still go wrong
on that trade.
WTI at Midland sank $13 a barrel to change hands near
$20 per barrel below the price of WTI at Cushing earlier
this week as traders dumped barrels ahead of December pipeline
NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) – So the United States is going
to become a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia, according to
the International Energy Agency.
At first glance, this is vindication, both for America’s
hyper-entrepreneurial energy sector, and, paradoxically, for its
infamously incoherent energy policies.