Oil prices falling uncontrollably? Update on refinery damage!

Oil seems likely to continue its fall tonight and tomorrow as Big Oil assess its refineries after Hurricane Ike.

Grand Rapids prices should head WELL South of $4!

Also according to Reuters calculations, here are some of the numbers that have impacted gasoline prices:

CUMULATIVE IMPACT OF GUSTAV AND IKE

*20.48 million barrels of crude oil

*102.79 billion cubic feet of natural gas

*33.06 million barrels of refining (counting only plants completely shut) 

*99.9 pct Gulf of Mexico oil output

*93.8 pct Gulf of Mexico gas output

*15 refineries shut, 24.6 pct of US capacity

*1 refinery, ConocoPhillips Sweeny unit, restarting

*5 refineries representing 7.7 pct of US capacity at reduced rates

*Some ports, Gulf Coast pipelines ramping back up

*At least 55 ships await entry to Houston

*Oil drops $5 on financials, Ike

*11 rigs, platforms damaged or lost: USCG

*Louisiana Oil Port restarts, but power limited

*Anadarko restarts Independence Hub

*Seaway crude line restarts

*Henry Hub force majeure still, some damage

*Refineries showing little damage

*Shell evaluating restart sked for Capline

*********************PIPELINES, GAS PLANTS************************

HEADLINES:

*TEPPCO partially back

*Explorer expects return to normal by late Tuesday

*Magellan some damage, assessing its system

*Seaway restarts as planned

*Shell evaluating full flow sked for Capline

*24 U.S. nat gas plants, 12.23 Bcfd, shut – DOE

*10 U.S. nat gas plants, 4.26 Bcfd, at reduced levels – DOE

PIPELINES, OTHER FACILITIES SHUT

*SPR Bryan Mound, Big Hill, Tex; Hackberry, La,

*Shell Houston-to-Houma crude line

*Centennial Pipeline products line

*Portions of ConocoPhillips pipeline system in Texas

*Dixie Pipeline propane line from Texas to Louisiana, Iowa

*Enterprise Cameron Highway and Poseidon offshore crude in Gulf

*Longhorn Pipeline products line

*Portions of Marathon Pipeline system onshore, offshore Gulf Coast

*Enbridge: Four pipelines force majeure

REDUCED RATES

*Plantation pipeline at reduced rates

*Colonial restarts distillate line after Ike, mogas down

8 Comments

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  1. We really lucked on the storm not being able to build up more wind speed after going over Cuba and that the eye didn’t hit on the South side of Galveston. The damage reports would look a lot different if the wind speeds were 150mph and/or the storm surge in Galveston bay was 20-25ft.

    This is a pretty good article on pricing across the country: http://www.cspnet.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications::Article&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=D362DD25FDF44C85B69FE7F1A1F8FEC5&AudID=CBA745B91AFB44FA923476ACBBD040A5

  2. OFF TOPIC (sorry!): Thanks to *Retailer* for all the retail insight you provide to this site. I just wanted you to know that we appreciate hearing your _insider_ point of view when you post. I applaud you for taking time to contribute to the wealth of information this site provides! Thank you!

  3. Can you tell me why when wholesale prices are at $2.46 we are still seeing $4.09 at the stations here in the GR area? Doing my calculations that means stations could be seeing as much as a 79 cent margin – 20 cent retail markup on top of a difference in what should be charged $3.50 vs. what they are actually charging ($4.09).

    I understand there is some other factors currently affecting gas prices, but not to the tune of 79 cents. Where is Granholm at this point? What happened to Mike Cox going after gouging in this state?

    Even if you take half away from the 59 cents of gouge that is apparently out there, that still leaves stations with 29.5 cents of margin on top of their normal 20 cent retail markup. 49.5 cents of margin per gallon???? sign me up for that business.

  4. Because of localized supply issues. We lack a large source of oil because LOOP is shut down and that is how some of our local oil is offloaded. Also, until about yesterday the pipeline that supplies the LOOP oil was in repair, limiting deliveries.

    I expect things to be ironed out in a few weeks and for prices to tumble.

  5. To answer Chris I will give you my cost including all taxes and delivery. 15th $4.26,16th $3.91, 17th $3.75. So what if you bought gas on the 15th.( I did) So when did you want to take over my business?

    P.S. If I was making 49.5 cents per gallon that is only 12% margin. Out of that I have to pay credit card fees, overhead and try to be profitable.

  6. CJ71: I’m glad that you appreciate it. I have access to a lot of information that Ed and Patrick can’t get a hold of. So, I try to pass as much on as I can during crazy times like this. The best thing that our industry can do is to share as much accurate information as we can, instead of letting people make up their own facts.

    Chris: The futures market is at $2.46 not wholesale prices, that price is a guess for 30 days from now. A few days ago wholesale prices were $1 above the market, now they are getting a bit closer.

    As of today (Wednesday), our wholesale (rack) price is about $3.076. Then you have to add 18.4 cents for Federal road tax, 19 cents for State road tax, 22 cents for sales tax (based on $4.099), around 2.5 cents for freight and subtract 5.1 cents for E-10. Which puts our cost at about $3.65. Plus the unbranded rack prices have been quite a bit more then the branded ones.

    But, it isn’t fair to say that someone at $4.099 is making 45 cents. Because rack prices dropped 48 cents in 48 hours. Our cost on anything that we got delivered between Friday night (6PM) and Monday night was about $4.14. So, there is an extremely good chance that the stores that you see at $4.099 are selling at a -4 cent margin, not to mention they have to pay another 10 cents per gallon if you use a credit card.

    Give it another couple days for people to get new deliveries and you will see prices well under $4. We could get those delivers a lot faster if they would be nice enough to drop our allocations!

    I really hope this isn’t true, but I heard that they had to shut the pipeline down at the Muskegon terminal a few days ago because they didn’t have room to store the gas coming in…

  7. I appreciate the responses and understand very well margin, margin percents, overhead, COGS, top line vs. bottom line sales, net income, net profit etc. As much as I’d like to believe that this is an isolated incident of bad timing, I am confident there have been other incidents of good timing that have led to a higher profit $ figure as well as higher margin %. I’m sure it evens out over the long haul – or at least it should.

    To say that rack prices went up and cite this as part of the reason for charging $4.09 – $4.19 doesn’t make sense. I could understand if there were only some stations in this particular delimma, but nearly all stations are at this price currently. I also understand that some may have purchased when the price was at its highest and therefore may be operating at a zero or negative margin. I do feel for these operators – I know it is not totally their fault. However, I’m confident that some of these larger chains – Speedway, Marathon, BP etc. all participate at the corporate level in purchasing and playing in the futures market and therefore control their margins at a different level than the independant station. It’s these chains that I direct my frustration because they are manipulating the market to their benefit under the guise of “the costs went up”. Yes the costs may have gone up, but these large corporations are able to smooth out these peaks and valleys with their purchasing agreements, playing in the futures market etc.

    The independent is the one suffering and that is a shame – it is happening all over the place, not just in the gasoline business. The margins on gas can be thin and I understand the overhead associated with this as well – particularly on credit card transactions – the fees are high and trying to encourage cash and/or debit payment is not always an easy thing. On the other hand, the margins on the goodies – drinks, food, candy, snacks etc – that the majority of gasoline stations are offering are very high margin items. The dollars may not be huge, but the margin % is extremely high. It’s no secret that enticing customers into the store to purchase convenience items is a major strategy for any gasoline station. This contributes significantly to the bottom line and the overall margin/profit for any of these businesses.

    So while I understand the predicament for independents, deplore the behavior of the large chains, and dread trips to the gas station, I also understand that there is profit to be had and some are reaping the profits while others are suffering from unfortunate timing, an inability to play in the futures market, and the size of their operation impacting their negotiating position. It’s the standard laws of business, but something has to be done to protect the consumer.

  8. Chris, it’s a common misconception that Marathon, BP, Shell, Mobil, Exxon, etc stations are owned by their respective oil companies. Marathon has never operated Marathon stations, but they do own and operate every Speedway station. BP, Shell, etc have not operated any stations (that I’m aware of) in the State of Michigan for a very long time, and they are all selling off the stations they own in other States.

    Speedway, Meijer, and Admiral are the only large chains in the State. At least 75% of the stations are single station owners. All of our stations are branded and we don’t get any benefit from any outside sources, retail – rack price is all we get to work with.

    You are also wrong about it being a small amount of stations that got stuck with higher priced deliveries. It is the other way around because of the insane amount of sales from last Friday. Stations sold at least double what they normally sell, and we had some that were close to 10 times. So, the amount of stations needing a delivery between Friday and Monday night is extremely high.

    Sometimes the margins going up cancel out the margins coming down, but not this time. We already sold out our cheaper inventory before prices went up and they are coming back down a lot faster than we can sell out the higher priced inventory.

    Also, regardless of profit margin, we can’t sell enough candy and pop to make up for a lack of gasoline profit. We all depend on gas margins to pay the bills.

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