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Refinery Margins - August 2017

Source: OPEC 8/15/2017, Location: Europe

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US product crack spreads improved during July despite higher WTI prices m-o-m. Total gasoline demand continued to increase to reach around 9.7 mb/d, based on preliminary weekly data, to the highest level of total consumption seen in 2017. Additionally, middle distillate demand strengthened, supporting a rise in margins. US Gulf refinery margins for WTI crude gained more than $2/b versus the previous month’s levels to average around $10.06/b during July, with refinery utilization rates reaching as high as 93.5%.

Product markets in Europe showed mixed performance during July, with the top and bottom of the barrel weakening due to regional oversupply amid limited export opportunities, as well as higher feedstock values m-o-m. The refinery margin for Brent crude in Northwest Europe (NWE) saw a marginal decline of $0.4/b versus the previous month to average $7.6/b. Further losses in margins were avoided by the strong gains exhibited by the middle of the barrel on the back of a healthy demand and increased exports.

Asian product markets exhibited improvements across all products with the exception of fuel oil. Strong seasonal demand and reduced stocks levels supported margins. Refining margins for Oman increased by $1.0/b to $9.3/b in July from a month earlier.

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