Oil balances Chinese PMI with East Coast refinery restarts

China versus the East Coast

Today we will get oil inventories as well as natural gas supply report! Demand is weak all over. David Bird of Dow Jones reported that U.S. crude oil imports fell 3.4%, or 305,000 barrels a day, in August from a year earlier, government data released Wednesday show. The drop came as domestic oil output rose 9.1%, or more than 1 million barrels a day, from a year earlier, at 8.631 million barrels a day, data from the Energy Information Administration show. Output was down from a month earlier, as Alaskan output slipped to its lowest level since May 1977 amid continued declines. Output from North Dakota set a record, topping 700,000 barrels a day, in August with soaring output from shale-oil fields.

Japanese demand is weak as refiners are in maintenance. Dow reports crude-oil throughout is unlikely to rise in November even though most refineries are scheduled to come back from regular maintenance later this month, due to weak demand and as oil refiners want to avoid excessive stockpiles. Roughly 25% of the country's total oil refining capacity went offline in the second half of October, but refiners maintained even lower operational rates due to thin demand. The average refinery operating rate was 70% last week and 69% the previous week, data from the Petroleum Association of Japan showed.

Natural gas came back with the emergency at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant. Reuters reported that Exelon Corp said Wednesday it ended an alert at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey after high water from Hurricane Sandy returned to normal levels. Oyster Creek, the nation's oldest operating reactor, declared the rare "alert" Monday night after water levels at the plant rose more than 6.5 feet above normal, potentially affecting the "water intake structure" that pumps cooling water through the plant. The pumps were not essential to keep the reactor cool since the plant has been shut for planned refueling since October 22. Exelon, however, was concerned that if the water rose more than 7 feet it could submerge the service water pump motor used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool, potentially forcing the company to use emergency water supplies from the in-house fire suppression system to keep the used uranium fuel rods in the pool from overheating, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said Monday night.

Of course down the road we know demand will come back in the rebuilding phase. But we are not there yet.

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About the Author
Phil Flynn

Senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. He is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets. His precise and timely forecasts have come to be in great demand by industry and media worldwide and his impressive career goes back almost three decades, gaining attention with his market calls and energetic personality as writer of The Energy Report. You can contact Phil by phone at (888) 264-5665 or by email at pflynn@pricegroup.com. Learn even more on our website at www.pricegroup.com.

 

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