West Coast Gasoline Pump Prices To Soar Before Memorial Day

Dateline: Terry, Montana
May 10, 2013 – 6 pm MDT
By: Bob van der Valk

This is “The End” for any hope of gasoline prices on the West Coast, specifically Southern California, before Memorial Day. Today’s AAA Fuel Gauge for Los Angeles-Long Beach showed the average gasoline price already over $4 per gallon. The two major oil company refinery upsets in Southern California this afternoon will result in spike for gasoline prices starting on Monday with retail pump prices expected to hit $4.25 per gallon. The remainder of the West Coast including the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest gasoline prices will follow suit.

The CononoPhillips 76 refinery in Wilmington reported flaring this afternoon. Then the kicker came in the form of the ExxonMobiil refinery suffering a “power bump” putting their Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) unit out of business.

ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA 5-10-13
ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA 5-10-13

Because of it the ExxonMobill was flaring Friday afternoon at its 149,000 b/d refinery in Torrance, Calif., with the shut down of their FCC unit, which had been kept running while other units in the refinery were going through a planned turnaround. Now all of the units at this refinery are down.

The FCC is out of service and the refinery is flaring,

The refinery issued an unplanned flaring notification to the South Coast Air Quality Management this afternoon citing a breakdown. The flaring event began at 2 p.m. PDT and is expected to end before midnight.

ExxonMobil began a large-scale, multi-week turnaround May 3 on Torrance’s lone crude unit, an alkylation unit, a delayed coker unit, a sulfur recovery unit and a hydrotreater.

“Although we anticipate impact to production, ExxonMobil expects to be able to meet its contractual commitments,” a company spokesperson previously said about the planned maintenance.

The fluid catalytic cracker was not involved in the turnaround and had been operating via gasoil feed stored in railcars before a power glitch affected the unit.

Late Friday afternoon David Dumais, deputy fire chief of Torrance Fire Department, confirmed the following by phone.

* Upset occurred during maintenance turnaround,
*Refinery started turnaround this month on units including crude unit, alkylation unit, coker, hydrogen
plant on May 2, 2013.

Any or all of the above article can be re-published with proper attribution to the author and the Bakkken Oil Business Journal.

Feel free to contact me for updated information.

Bob van der Valk
Managing Editor
Bakken Oil Business Journal
Terry, Montana
(406) 853-4251

Gasoline is Too Damn High!

Jimmy McMillan, who claims to be Irish, has started a new campaign using a variation of his slogan “Rent is too damn high!” in order to lower gasoline prices. It’s comical to watch his YouTube video taken in front of the White House but he makes his point:

Gasoline is too damn high!

His formula: More Drilling = More Gasoline = Lower Gasoline Prices

Consumers are once again being told with gas price stories we see on TV and read in newspapers gas prices are too high and much worse now than they have been in the past. But gasoline consumers have short memories and will forget the details once the pump prices start going lower again.

Sticky Note

Gasoline prices are unlikely to go back down as fast as they went up with the Middle East North Africa unrest continuing, the fallout of the Japanese nuclear plant meltdown not yet determined as well as the constricting requirements by the US Environment Protection Agency creating boutique gasoline in parts of the country with air pollution.

Crude oil is selling for around $96 dollars a barrel but we can all remember when oil was over $100 dollars, even $120 and $140 dollars a barrel not too long ago.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil located in Cushing, OK was the financial benchmark used in the past to set the price for virtually all global oil pricing. At the beginning of this year it was replaced with the Brent crude oil posting on the Intercontinental Exchange of London. The WTI price is now disconnected with crude oil markets and does not represent the “real” price of crude oil.

Cushing is filled to the brim with supply and because it is landlocked and difficult to ship incoming crude further south to the US Gulf Coast refineries. Financially, the WTI contract is good for trading by index investors, ETF’s, energy hedge funds and individual traders, all going long in a market betting on crude prices to go back up.

Is gasoline is too damn high? And what are going to do about it is not as simple as the slogan Jimmy McMillan invented. The answer is we need a National Energy Policy to give us long term security from world events playing havoc with the price we pay at the pump.

Busting the Myth About Oil Company Profits

What can we do to stop commodity speculators from causing the rapid hike in gasoline prices? Arrest them, put them in jail, and try them before a jury before we hang them?

Early last week, President Obama started that ball rolling by telling US Attorney General Eric Holder to stop oil market fraud. Eric Holder promptly announced he was appointing a “working group” focused on rooting out the cases of fraud in the oil markets that might affect gasoline prices. This might work in any other business but the petroleum industry is not going to be simple to control. Continue reading Busting the Myth About Oil Company Profits

B of A New Oil Price Target Suggests $4.25 Gasoline in the US by Memorial Day

While living in The Hague, Holland as a young boy I often wondered what was on the other side of that vast expanse of water known as the North Sea. How could I have known about the vast crude oil reserves lying underneath the angry waters of the North Sea and its eventual exploration by the countries surrounding it? Continue reading B of A New Oil Price Target Suggests $4.25 Gasoline in the US by Memorial Day

Japan Earthquake Could Test U.S. with $5 Gasoline Prices

The fallout on the fuel market will be severe following the 9.0 Japanese earthquake on Friday, March 11. 2011, since Japan will have to supplement their nuclear energy power production with coal, natural gas and oil-fired power plants. 

Information is short and hard to obtain about the status of the nuclear power plants in Japan.  Not being a nuclear physicist it is hard to sort the facts from the hysteria but going on past history we are being fed pap by official press officials of the Japanese government about the real situation in dealing with this cataclysmic event. These same officials withheld vital information after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, which killed more than 6,000 people. Continue reading Japan Earthquake Could Test U.S. with $5 Gasoline Prices

California Gasoline Pricing Depends on Location of Gas Station

On March 7, 2011 the average price in California for regular gasoline increased 15.5-cents from the previous week. The average statewide price for regular was $3.874.

Following the gasoline margin breakdown for per the California Energy Commission as of March 7, 2011; Continue reading California Gasoline Pricing Depends on Location of Gas Station