Oil futures were falling hard as fears of a growing oil glut grew. Then magically, after a small drawdown in Cushing, Oklahoma, traders started to ask glut...what glut? Traders were tanking oil as pipelines and storage terminals were filled beyond capacity yet the Energy Information Administration report seemed to ease those concerns.
Oil prices were tanking as the Seaway Pipeline could not live up to the 400,000 barrel a day reduction in oil glut in the landlocked Cushing, Oklahoma promise. Enterprise reduced the flow to 175,000 barrels a day because its Jones Creek storage terminal was filled to capacity. This problem is supposed to be fixed later this year by a new lateral line that will transport crude coming off the joint venture pipeline to operator Enterprise's ECHO terminal in Houston. And perhaps using a shipping fleet to give crude supplies from Seaway Pipeline additional access to the Gulf of Mexico by barge or larger vessels that was not supposed to help us in this week’s report.
Yet somehow, out of Cushing, supply seemed to find a way to trickle out. The EIA reported surprisingly a 300,000 drop which helped the overall crude build of 2.62 million barrels fall short of expectations. That gave crude new life as the feared glut was not as bad as feared. Still with other pipelines full and refiners shut down, the risk is high that the glut will get more glutinous soon.
Gasoline supply actually gained by 1.74 million barrels, a bit better than expected and distillate was pretty much right on target, falling 1.04 million barrels.
Are you looking for more signs of a long term bottom in natural gas other than current record demand? How about the anticipation of even more demand in the future! Reuters News reports that a decision by Duke Energy Corp to retire rather than repair its damaged Crystal River reactor in Florida may signal the shutdown of other older U.S. nuclear plants as weak natural gas prices make significant investment in them uneconomical. While energy analysts said the circumstances surrounding Duke's decision were unique to that plant, decade-low electric prices, especially in deregulated states where the market sets power rates, make it difficult to support costly upgrades on reactors when building gas-fired units is much cheaper.
This of course is the first of many! The long end of the curve is looking good. In the front end traders are “Finding Nemo,” a new name for a winter storm that is supposed to bury the East Coast. Get the shovels out and get ready for the natural gas storage number! I am looking for a 113 draw but the street closer to 130ish.