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Aug 15, 2013

Private equity calls time on U.S. oil refining boom: Campbell

NEW YORK, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Executives at publicly-held
U.S. oil refiners have been at pains to reassure investors that
the dislocations once seen in the North American crude oil
market will return, delivering bumper profits once again to
refineries.

Despite bumper earnings, there is a sense of unease among
refining executives.

No doubt they are worried that skittish investors, who have
seen the discount on benchmark U.S. crude oil evaporate and a
deterioration in the spreads between refined products and crude
oil, will prematurely dump their shares.

Aug 9, 2013

U.S. refiners eye shale butane to cut gasoline costs: Campbell

NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Cheap natural gas liquids in the
United States have made the country’s petrochemicals industry
globally competitive again. Now oil refiners are looking at this
bounty with an eye to making U.S. gasoline exports more
competitive.

At first glance it is not immediately clear how butane would
make U.S. refiners more competitive. Traditionally butane has
been blended into gasoline, but increasingly stringent
anti-pollution regulations limit how much butane can be added to
fuel, particularly in warmer months.

Aug 6, 2013

EPA offers palliative, not a cure, for RINsanity: Campbell

NEW YORK, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Eight months after the legal
deadline the Obama Administration has released the 2013
Renewable Fuels Standard rule. More importantly it promised
waivers next year that will supposedly keep this badly designed
law from inflating gasoline prices.

Is this a cause for celebration? Hardly anyone will be truly
happy with this decision. The agricultural lobby will be
dismayed by the tacit abandonment of the effort to dump ever
more corn into the nation’s fuel mix.

Aug 1, 2013

Canada opts for $12 bln oil path of least resistance: Campbell

NEW YORK, Aug 1 (Reuters) – If Canadian oil producers had
their way, the last place they would pumping their Alberta crude
would be to Canada’s East Coast. But TransCanada Corp’s
Energy East pipeline project is emerging as the path of least
resistance for booming oil sands output.

If only local opposition was not a factor, Canada’s No.2
pipeline operator must be lamenting. From a marketing
standpoint, the logical place to ship Canada’s growing oil
surplus is the West Coast. It is closer to Alberta, so shipping
costs would be less, and the oil would be going to high-value
Asian markets.

May 22, 2013

Keystone XL double standard: Tale of 2 pipelines: Campbell

NEW YORK, May 22 (Reuters) – A casual observer familiar with
the Keystone XL saga would think the United States was making it
very hard to build any oil sands-related pipelines. But nothing
could be farther from the truth.

While TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL is mired in
seemingly endless studies, a competing project that could carry
hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil sands crude to U.S.
refineries every day is sailing through its own regulatory
review.

May 15, 2013

How to manipulate oil price assessments: Campbell

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.

May 9, 2013

The U.S. oil pipeline glut is upon us: Campbell

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
end.

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.

Apr 22, 2013

Hopes for OPEC cuts to buoy oil price are premature: Campbell

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.

Apr 15, 2013

Global overcapacity to squeeze oil refining margins: Campbell

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.

Mar 28, 2013

Derailment highlights risks from oil-by-rail boom: Campbell

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
oil.

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.