Refinery activity continues to lag. Over the last four DOE reports throughput averaged 14.5 MMbbl/d. That is 278 Mbbl/d or 1.9% below the 5-year average, inclusive of the 2005 Katrina/Rita outlier. This drop coincided with the plunge in the NYMEX 3:2:1 crack spread that began in the second half of September in the wake of the RVP switchover.
However, the so-called refiners crack has jumped more than 50% since the first half of October, from below $4 a barrel to over $6, for a yield to WTI of 7.7%.
Therefore, margins are now moving in a positive direction for refiners. This could translate into greater demand for crude oil once refiners return from maintenance.