As is often the case at this time of the year, fog disrupts vessel traffic in GoM shipping lanes. Traffic through the Houston Ship Channel was suspended for a 27-hour period ended last Wednesday, December 09th. Twenty vessels (not all of them tankers) were reportedly delayed as a result. The event will undoubtedly add another layer of unpredictability to a weekly inventory report that is unpredictable to begin with.
Per last week’s report, imports into the GoM (PADD III) dropped 18% to a 64-week (post Hurricane Gustav/Ike) low of 4.16 MMbbl/d. In turn, crude oil stocks plunged. Traffic was again delayed this week because of fog.
Over the last four DOE reports we have seen a significant re-steepening of the NYMEX curve. In turn, we have seen a veritable wave of crude oil flood into the NYMEX Hub in PADD II. Supplies in the Cushing, OK complex have surged by 30% since the beginning of November, towards historical highs; 33.4 MMbbls as of last week. Storage at Cushing peaked in early February at 34.9 MMbbls.