US oil stocks remain at multi-year highs

US oil stocksApr10.pngThe chart above, from the insightful Petromatrix report, highlights the on-going divergence between the bullish sentiment driving prices, and the fundamental reality of crude oil markets.

It totals US stocks of crude oil and the main products (gasoline, distillate and jet kero), by year. And it shows very clearly that stocks in 2010 (red line) and 2009 (light blue) have been much higher than in the 2005-8 period. As Petromatrix comment:

• “Stocks remain at multi-year highs“, even though last year’s major destocking has now finished.
• “There is no stress on the supply system because OPEC is gently lowering its compliance to quota as demand gently comes back“.
• US Gulf “crude oil imports are at the highest level in 12 months.

They conclude that current prices “put the demand recovery at risk“. And they also note that “the extreme spread between crude and natgas also means that petchems will switch as much as possible from petroleum based to natural gas based feedstocks“, causing further demand destruction in the short-term.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. Paul is also an invited member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such as oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.


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