Oil rocked by demand destruction, supply builds

EPA takes on BP

Bloomberg News reported that futures rebounded as Hess said the 70,000-barrel-a-day refinery was shut, just a week after returning to full production for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. Prices slipped 1.8% earlier after the Energy Department reported that gasoline stockpiles rose the most in four months last week. “Knocking out Port Reading is a reminder that coming back from Hurricane Sandy is going to take some time,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. Inventories of the motor fuel rose 3.87 million barrels to 204.3 million barrels last week, the highest level since the week ended Aug. 3. Gasoline demand declined 5.3% to 8.43 million barrels a day, 3.9% below a year earlier. Inventories of the motor fuel rose 3.87 million barrels to 204.3 million barrels last week, the highest level since the week ended Aug. 3. Gasoline demand declined 5.3% to 8.43 million barrels a day, 3.9% below a year earlier. Demand has slipped for two weeks after jumping 7.2% in the seven days ended Nov. 9 as wholesalers restocked after Hurricane Sandy disrupted production and distribution in the Central Atlantic.

The largest increase in gasoline stockpiles was in the U.S. East Coast, or PADD 1 region. Inventories rose 1.25 million barrels to 47.4 million. All refineries in the area had resumed normal production after Hurricane Sandy until Hess’s Port Reading plant shut. Distillate supplies, including heating oil and diesel, fell 800,000 barrels to 112 million last week, the lowest level since May 2008. Demand tumbled 8.7% to 3.84 million barrels a day, after rising the prior week to the highest level in 11 months. Stockpiles in the East Coast, or PADD 1 region, rose 1.92 million barrels to 36.4 million, after dropping the week before to the lowest level since May 2008. Inventories are 36 percent below year-earlier levels.

The Environmental Protection Agency imposed what could be a devastating blow to BP and its ability to continue to function over the long run as a viable company. This is an agency where one of its former officials explained the EPA likes do things like the old Roman’s used to do it. And that is you just crucify a few Christians and the rest of them will fall in line. Well right now it is BP that is facing the wrath of the EPA.

The day that former BP employees entered their pleas surrounding criminal charges for the events leading up to the Deep Water Horizon disaster, the EPA wielded its incredible power basically playing with the future of BP. On its website the EPA announced that it has temporarily suspended BP Exploration and Production, Inc., BP PLC and named affiliated companies (BP) from new contracts with the federal government.

BP survival may depend on what the EPA’s definition of "temporary" is. While investors squirm and hope for the best, the EPA is showing that it is one all-powerful government organization. The EPA is taking this action because of BP’s lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company's conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill and response, as reflected by the filing of a criminal information. On Nov. 15, 2012, BP agreed to plead guilty to eleven counts of Misconduct or Neglect of Ship Officers, one count of Obstruction of Congress, one misdemeanor count of a violation of the Clean Water Act, and one misdemeanor count of a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, all arising from its conduct leading to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and caused the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

The rest of the world of course is watching in fascination. Our friends in the UK think we are going way overboard in our quest to sink a company that bears the name of their beloved motherland. They have much affection for this company that has many of their citizens savings invested in. They agree that BP has to pay the price but now they think that the U.S. penalties are well out of bounds. Not to mention that they announce it on the day the trial starts for BP employees in a country where you are supposed to be innocent before proven guilty. In fact I think we got that from the UK in the first place.

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.


Futures and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and may not be suitable for everyone. The information presented by The PRICE Futures Group is from sources believed to be reliable and all information reported is subject to change without notice.

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