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ICE refined products crack spreads weaken as USGC refiners return, post-Imelda


ExxonMobil ramps up Beaumont

Energy Transfer's Nederland terminal returns

USGC well-supplied

New York — Refined products crack spreads weakened Friday as refinery operations were returning in the US Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Tropical Depression Imelda.

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The ICE front-month ULSD crack vs Brent closed at $18.96/b, down from $19.57/b Thursday. The RBOB crack vs Brent closed at $4.89/b, down from $5.45/b Thursday.

ExxonMobil was ramping up its Beaumont refinery Friday after shutting operations Thursday because of heavy flooding that Imelda caused, several sources said.

The company's chemical plant remained shut.

"The Beaumont refinery continues to operate. The Beaumont chemical plant has completed a safe and systematic shutdown of its units," spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry said in an email Friday.

Imelda, which came ashore as a tropical storm Tuesday near Freeport, Texas, and then parked above southeastern Texas dumped more than 40 inches of rain in areas just southwest of Beaumont and more than 30 inches in the city from Monday through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Beaumont and nearby Port Arthur, Texas, took 47 inches of rain two years ago when Hurricane Harvey pounded Houston and southeastern Texas with unprecedented rainfall.

Imelda also caused Nederland, Texas, terminals to shut, causing a partial closure of the Cushing, Oklahoma-to-Nederland Marketlink crude pipeline.

Energy Transfer said Friday its Nederland terminal had returned.

"Nederland was down for just a short period yesterday morning due to a power outage. It resumed operations early yesterday," Energy Transfer spokeswoman Amanda Gorgueiro said.

TC Energy, operator of the Marketlink pipeline, could not be reached for comment.


But the impact of the outages so far has been modest.

"As several refineries had already been operating at reduced rates due to turnaround/planned maintenance, the level of disruption from the storm itself has been limited so far," said FGE Energy analysts in a report.

US Gulf Coast net refinery inputs at 8.82 million b/d the week ending September 13 were down 524,000 b/d on the week, US Energy Information Administration data showed.

Refinery runs are expected to decline heading into the fall maintenance season.

According to S&P Global Platts Analytics, roughly 2.62 million b/d of crude distillation capacity is expected to go down for maintenance in October, up from 1.52 million b/d in September.

USGC refiners appear to be better prepared for large storms, the FGE Energy analysts said.

"Flood defenses and management systems have improved over the last two years in response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which caused over 1 [million b/d] of refining capacity to be shuttered," they said.

Currently, gasoline is well-supplied relative to diesel. US Gulf Coast gasoline stocks at 78.65 million barrels last week were roughly at par with the five-year average, while US Atlantic Coast stocks at 62.35 million barrels were 7.4% above the five-year average, the US Energy Information Administration data showed.

In contrast, combined low and ultra low sulfur diesel stocks were roughly 11% below the five-year average on the USAC, and 9% below on the USGC.


In related news, Buckeye Partners said it resumed full operations Friday at its Buckeye Bahamas Hub, which was shut in preparation for Hurricane Dorian which swept through the Bahamas September 1, the strongest storm in the island nation's recorded history.

Buckeye Partners said in a statement operations restarted "following completion of inspections and necessary repairs of impacts from Hurricane Dorian. Completed assessments of the facility identified only minor damage from wind and rain, and no indications of any product release or environmental threats."

Buckeye's 26.2 million barrel facility is located in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. It holds crude, refined products and butane. It is also a transshipment point and has a blending facility.

No update was immediately available on the status of the other Bahamian petroleum storage and terminaling facility, which also closed ahead of Dorian.

Equinor said earlier that its initial assessment of its 6.5 million barrel crude oil storage facility in South Riding, Bahamas, showed that it had sustained damage and that oil had been observed on the ground.

-- Jeff Mower,

-- Janet McGurty,

-- Edited by Valarie Jackson,