Following sweeping cost cuts, the world’s biggest oil producers, including Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc, have increased profits this year, reduced debt and covered their dividend with cash from operations even with oil at $50 a barrel. Last month, BP gave the boldest signal yet that the industry had emerged from the downturn, announcing that it would buy back shares for the first time in three years. The steps announced by Shell on Tuesday “aim to ensure that our company can continue to thrive, not just in the short and medium term but for many decades to come,” Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden said in a statement. Shell’s B shares, the most widely traded, rose 2.6% to 2,422.5 pence at 8:55 a.m. in London, the biggest intraday gain in three weeks. So Big oil is back!
AAA reported the national gas price average has been trending cheaper for 10 days. At $2.51, today’s price is 3¢ less than last Monday. On the week, 49 states are paying less at the pump for a gallon of regular gasoline. The District of Columbia and Hawaii saw their gas price increase by one cent. Prices have dropped between one and 15 cents elsewhere across the country. “AAA expects to see gas prices trend cheaper through the year-end, decreasing as much as 20 cents for some motorists before year-end,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. Today, motorists can find gas for $2.50 or less at 63 percent of gas stations nationwide.
Oil products remain firm. Refiners have to play catch up. Warm weather may be helping us on the distillate front, but we are likely to not get caught up with demand soon. Gas demand is still strong.