If it isn't one thing driving oil higher than it is another. Oil Prices are getting support from weather woes, refinery fires, pipeline sabotage and weak global economic situation that are raising hopes of more global economic stimulus.
We start with bad news is good news. German manufacturing orders fell in June and reports that Mario Monti gave an ultimatum to Angela Markel is getting the market geared up on the belief that the European Union is getting ready to embark in a massive bond buying blitz. Also a story in the Wall Street Journal is also suggesting that the Fed may be getting ready to do the same thing. The Wall Street Journal reported that Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, called on the Fed to launch an aggressive, open-ended bond buying program that the central bank would continue until economic growth picks up and unemployment starts falling again. His call came in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the first since the central bank signaled last week that it was leaning strongly toward taking new measures to support economic growth.'
Oil traders know that bond buying and bailouts are bullish and once again the market is getting support by these hopes. But Oil has to look at the old fusion bullish risks as well. Oil got a boost on a false report that the Syrian President was killed or as some said wishful thinking. There was a pipeline explosion as well. The AP reported that "An explosion in Turkey has forced authorities to shut down pipeline carrying oil from Iraq to world markets, an official said Monday, in the second such incident in two weeks. Local media reports said Kurdish rebels had caused the blast. The explosion occurred late Sunday near the southeastern town of Midyat and damaged the pipeline running from Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, to the Turkish Mediterranean port at Ceyhan, said an official at Turkey's pipeline company, BOTAS. A second line that runs parallel was not harmed, but has also been shut down temporarily as a precaution, the official said. The two pipelines carry about 25 million tons of crude oil a year.
The official said authorities suspect the blast was the result of sabotage, but would not elaborate. He only spoke on condition of anonymity because of government rules that bar civil servants from speaking to reporters."
Oil is also getting a boost on Tropical Storm Ernesto that at the very least will slow imports of oil into the Gulf of Mexico or shut down Mexico's offshore production. But what is more the Atlantic is very active with storms popping up all over. We have seen tropical Depression Florence loose energy as it looked like it was heading up the east Coast. We have 3 other storms that traders are watching and Oil tankers will be slowed as they try to maneuver around these storms. That comes as most traders are looking for a drawdown in Crude supply. I don't think that will happen this week but watch out next week. Remember that when it comes to tropical depressions they do not have to necessarily do damage to have an impact on supply and price.
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Speaking of tropical depression how about gas price depression. While word of the restart of the Enbridge Pipeline caused wholesale gas prices to fall by over 20 cents a refinery fire in California could share our gas pain with the West Coast. I guess it isn't just Chicago with bad gas problems. Dow Jones reports that firefighters have contained a blaze at Chevron Corp.'s (CVX) Richmond refinery in California, but the fire, which broke out Monday, is still burning. The damage, and the likely outage of some or all of the 245,000-barrel-a-day facility, could push gasoline prices higher given that it is the largest refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area, accounting for nearly 10% of the refining capacity in the U.S. West Coast region. The fire broke out around 6:15 p.m. local time Monday at crude distillation unit, which was also leaking petroleum, Chevron said in a filing with the California Emergency Management Agency, adding that there were no fatalities. "This capacity is quite big, even in the U.S.," said Alex Yap, an analyst at Facts Global Energy in Singapore, suggesting a shutdown of the plant is likely to drive up prices of gasoline for consumers on the West Coast, but benefit other U.S. refiners. "Gasoline margins in the U.S. have come off a bit in the last few weeks, so maybe this can give it a bit of a boost," he said. Chevron has shut No. 4 CDU, where the fire broke out, but a spokesman declined to discuss operations at the other parts of the plant. Traders say the whole refinery is likely to be shut, as is normal practice in such incidents. On Aug. 1 Chevron had reported an incident at the same refinery, when it reported a flaring event to California state environmental regulators after a compressor failure caused a release of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Chevron said at the time that the refinery would continue to supply products to its customers. The impact of the fire on the oil market wasn't immediately evident, but it could ripple through different markets, said traders in Asia who were also trying to digest Tuesday the implications of Vietnam's sole refinery being shut down unexpectedly. "[The effect] will depend on the length of the closure. If long, then of course it backs out more crude," spilling unexpected supplies into the prompt market and driving down spot premiums, weakening the market structure, a Singapore-based crude oil trader said. The refinery runs primarily California crude, a variety of grades from Saudi Arabia as well as Iraqi Basra Light, among others, a senior West Coast crude trader said. Meanwhile an order for local residents to shelter in place remains in effect, meaning that they should stay in their homes or in nearby enclosed spaces to avoid potentially dangerous fumes. The fire caused the refinery to emit large clouds of sulfuric acid and nitrogen dioxide, the company said in a filing. "We will not speculate on the cause of this incident Chevron said in a prepared statement our priority right now is containing the fire and protecting the health and safety of our employees and community." One Chevron employee suffered a minor injury in the incident.
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