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Daily Settlement Prices

Wednesday’s closing prices again belied some significant intra-day volatility, as rumors of a possible brokered OPEC deal lifted oil prices from early doldrums to near unchanged at settlement. The cartel meets today in Vienna, Austria amid current industry conditions that are favorable to producers as at any point in the past six months. While the industry generally believes OPEC will not formally announce any changes to current policy (as in, no production quotas), there were headlines yesterday that intimated said quotas might be discussed or implemented. The veracity and accuracy of such a deal are certainly up for debate, however, as Iran has publicly stated, on numerous occasions (including yesterday) that it will not agree to production limits and has plans to continue to increase supply. The outcome of the OPEC meeting, coupled with the weekly Department of Energy inventory summary (delayed one day this week due to the Monday holiday), should make for a heavy interest day.

July WTI began Wednesday on a pretty weak note, amid technical selling and a stronger dollar to start the month. WTI was down over a dollar (sub-$48) and the finished products were off at least three cents at the start, giving the appearance of a potential market rout. That early weakness was rebuffed, however, by the mid-morning headline that several OPEC members were constructing an agreement that would, in effect, freeze production output at some undetermined levels. Of course, such ideas were (unsuccessfully) floated as the special meeting in Doha six weeks ago. The mere prospects of an OPEC supply cut, on top of the ongoing supply problems seen in different locations, was enough to rouse the bulls; July WTI quickly recouped the dollar it had lost (as did the products) and the market was essentially unchanged heading in the afternoon. July WTI settled at $49.01, down ten cents. Again, the front month WTI contract settled with a $49-handle.

The new prompt RBOB and Heating Oil contracts (July) rallied from the multi-cent losses to also post relatively flat day changes. July RBOB settled at $1.6153 / gallon, July HO settled at $1.4989 / gallon. Once again, though, the cash market for gasoline was the arena to watch. Continued strong demand and high prices in the Midwest is pulling gasoline from the Gulf Coast towards Chicago, which, in turn, is limiting the available supply shipped to the Southeast. The Gulf Coast RBOB and CBOB differentials posted multi-cent gains by themselves (on scheduling day, no less) and are each up well over a dime in the last two weeks. This strength is appearing in rack values (and available supply).


Published by PAPCO, Inc. (PAPCO)

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