Opportunity Crudes

Alberta sees record-high inventories.


In Canada, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) reported Nov. crude stocks were 64.0MM bbl—up by 7.6MM bbl from the previous month and 4.0MM bbl from the year-earlier level. The previous record was Feb. 2017's 62.0MM bbl. The Nov. 16 closure of TransCanada's 590K-b/d Keystone pipeline stranded large volumes of crude in the province. The leak was repaired and the line was restarted, but the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration limited operations to 80% of capacity, so inventories likely continued to build. On Jan. 23, Western Canadian Select (WCS) at Hardisty sold at $27.50/bbl under the March Calendar Month Average (CMA)—a low not seen in 4 years. In Nov., the discount to CMA was around $14.00/bbl.

Pipeline takeaway capacity exceeded Western Canadian crude output through 2013 and into 2014, but then growth and spikes in production reversed that relationship for short periods through mid-2016, despite the addition of pipeline capacity in mid-2015. From mid-2016 through the present, output has exceeded pipeline capacity outside of a short dip in production in March 2017. Crude output in the region has been on a fairly steady upward march from 2.5MM b/d in 2011 to nearly 4.0MM b/d in late 2017. (Jan 24 & RBN/Jan 22)

Source: Worldwide Refining Business Digest Weekly.e, January 29, 2018.


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