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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

interesting Oil set-up

How does anyone piece together the Crude market right now, especially with the following info.

1. US gasoline demand continues to fall for over 10 weeks, and this week at its steepest pace.

2. Joe T, on fast money, makes a pretty bullish case, siting international demand.

3. Interesting divergence took place a few weeks back. Brent and WTIC have risen while US gasoline prices have been flat to down.

I do not know what to make of this.  Since crude accounts for 66% of gasoline costs, I would suspect either Gasoline prices will go up or Crude has to come down.  Unless America has found an easy way to start transporting WTIC internationally to satisfy BRIC demand, and allowing for the Brent/WTIC spread to start to close. Below is a Brent/WTI overlay. Early October saw the break from the expanding spread.

I know Libya oil is coming online quicker than anticipated, helping to close the gap, but the Gasoline/WTI differential leaves questions. The only way this makes sense to me, with the limited information I have on the industry, is that WTI is being exported.

If not, this spread should be closing. And with US gasoline demand low, if WTI is not being taken off line by other means, the price should decline.  (I will try to dig up some more info on the 'export' thesis.)

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