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Latest SPR buyers pay average $105.60/b, reflecting high oil price expectations

Highlights

Unipec snags lowest price, Shell Trading pays highest price

Global SPR flows to average 1.4 million b/d through October

  • Author
  • Meghan Gordon
  • Editor
  • Marieke Alsguth
  • Commodity
  • Oil

Refiners and oil traders paid $105.60/b on average in the latest sale of crude oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with successful bids ranging from $103.30/b to $111.25/b, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights analysis of the contracts.

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WTI crude futures were lower than those levels during the bidding period, reflecting expectations for sustained high oil prices when the barrels are delivered from mid-May through June.

NYMEX WTI settled between $99.27/b and $103.28/b over the April 1-12 bidding period.

Unipec snagged the lowest successful bid of $103.30/b for its 950,000 barrels to be delivered by vessel, according to US Department of Energy data.

Shell Trading paid the highest price at $111.25/b for a 350,000-barrel lot for pipeline delivery. It had six other successful bids at lower prices, ranging from $104.53/b to $110.50/b.

DOE found buyers for all 30 million barrels of SPR crude offered as the first round of the massive 180 million-barrel drawdown that will continue through October.

The top buyers in the latest sale were Valero with 6.85 million barrels, Motiva Enterprises with 4.05 million barrels and ExxonMobil with 3.6 million barrels.

The Biden administration committed March 31 to selling an unprecedented 1 million b/d from the US emergency oil stockpile from May through October to rein in gasoline prices that have soared following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The administration is counting 20 million barrels that were sold and already scheduled to be released in May as part of 90 million barrels set for release from May through July. Another 90 million barrels will be offered for delivery in August through October under separate notices of sale, the DOE said.

Paul Sheldon, chief geopolitical adviser at S&P Global Commodity Insights, expected all of the emergency sales to be fully subscribed, which will trigger 900,000 b/d of net outflows to the market from mid-April through October.

Other International Energy Agency countries are set to deliver another 92 million barrels over the same period, raising global SPR flows to about 1.4 million b/d through October.

US SPR deliveries averaged 670,000 b/d in the last week, the highest rate since August 2011, Sheldon said.

The US' 180 million-barrel drawdown would deplete almost one-third of the SPR, reducing it to its lowest level since 1984.

The SPR held 556 million barrels as of April 15, about 55% of it sour crude and 45% of it sweet crude. It was the lowest level since February 2002.