Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Saudis Sending Seven Tankers to Begin Stockpiling Feedstock for Soon to Be Largest Refinery in the U.S., Motiva (RDS)

Some dramatic cross-currents in the refinery biz.
Last night the Financial Times, in an in-depth look at refining, "Energy: Refined out of existence" said:
...Half the refining capacity on the populous US east coast is set to disappear. Sunoco has pulled the plug on two refineries already and warns that another in Philadelphia will close in July if no buyer steps forward. ConocoPhillips is trying to sell a refinery in Pennsylvania, idle since last year. On May 1, it will spin off its refining business. More than 3m barrels of daily refinery capacity have closed in western countries, since the financial crisis, says the International Energy Agency, the west’s oil watchdog. Emerging economies have meanwhile added 4.2m b/d in capacity, with another 1.8m b/d coming this year. “It’s really a tale of two markets,” says Toril Bosoni, IEA senior oil analyst. “You have very contrasting pictures for economic growth and demand, and refining is reflecting what’s going on elsewhere.”...
Meanwhile Reuters had a story on Thursday that we had meant to get to:
Saudi oil shipper Vela books more tankers to U.S.

Saudi Arabia's state oil tanker company Vela has booked at least four vessels carrying up to 8 million barrels of crude for the U.S. Gulf in the past two days, tanker fixture data showed on Thursday.

A further three tankers are scheduled to arrive in the U.S. Gulf around the end of April, ship tracking data showed.

Saudi Arabia ramped up shipments to the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer -- which has seen its economy threatened by rising fuel prices -- by 25 percent in the first quarter of this year to the highest level since mid-2008.

Market analysts and traders say much of the increase was aimed at building up inventories at Saudi Arabia's joint-venture Motiva refinery in Texas before the completion of a huge capacity expansion. Others insist part of the hike could be aimed at easing rising fuel costs in the United States, which have become a focal point during the presidential election.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said last month high oil prices are unjustified and that the kingdom would like to see them lower, but offered no sign it would boost output further.

Saudi Arabian output edged up in March to 9.9 million barrels per day (bpd), according to a Reuters survey.
A tanker broker said four very large crude carriers (VLCCs) had been fixed by Vela in the past two days headed to the U.S. Gulf.

Earlier this month Vela booked at least nine VLCCs from the Middle East Gulf to the U.S. Gulf, the biggest such wave of fixtures in years.....MORE
When the Motiva Port Arthur expansion is complete later this year its 600,000 Bbl/day capacity will surpass XOM's Baytown refinery's 572,500 and make it the fifth largest in the world.