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Oil & Propane Prices Today

Changes in heating oil sulfur specifications in the U.S. Northeast will likely increase ultra-low sulfur diesel demand this winter (9/10/2014)
Reductions in the maximum sulfur content of heating fuels in five northeastern states will likely result in higher demand for ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD). On July 1st, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island reduced the maximum allowable content of sulfur in heating oil to 500 parts per million (ppm) from 20,000–3,000 ppm. It is expected that heating oil meeting the 500 ppm specification will be blended from higher-sulfur heating oil and ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), which has a maximum sulfur content of 15 ppm. The 500 ppm sulfur limit for heating fuel is an interim step in most Northeast states’ plans to reduce the acceptable maximum sulfur level to 15 ppm by mid-2016 (New Jersey) or during 2018 (Figure 1). ....

U.S. petroleum product exports continue to rise (9/4/2014)
U.S. exports of petroleum products, primarily from the Gulf Coast (PADD 3), have continued to increase. Year-to-date product exports through June 2014 (the latest month for which data are available), including gasoline, distillate, jet fuel, petroleum coke, and hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), averaged 3.7 million barrels per day (bbl/d), up 543,000 bbl/d over last year. Increased exports from the Gulf Coast have accounted for 72% of the growth in total U.S. exports (Figure 1). ...

U.S. retail gasoline prices fall heading into Labor Day, following crude prices lower (8/27/2014)
The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.45/gallon (gal) this past Monday, the lowest price on the Monday before Labor Day since 2010 (Figure 1). The average price at the pump is now 25 cents/gal lower than it was at the end of June. A lower North Sea Brent crude oil price is the main driver of the decline in the gasoline price. The current price of Brent is lower than it was both in June 2014 and heading into the Labor Day weekend last year (Figure 2). ...

Increased production and infrastructure constraints open crude oil price spread between Midland and Cushing (8/20/2014)
Increasing production of crude oil in the Permian Basin has outpaced pipeline infrastructure to move the crude to refineries, causing prices for crude in the Permian (at Midland, Texas) to fall below similar crudes priced at Cushing, Oklahoma (Figure 1). While the discount of Midland prices to Cushing prices has been increasing for almost a year, recent refinery outages in the region have caused it to widen substantially. Several infrastructure projects that will allow more crude to flow from the Permian to the U.S. Gulf Coast are expected to come online soon, which should narrow the discounts of crude oil at Midland. ...