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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

U.S. gasoline imports on the increase

U.S. gasoline imports are up by almost 12% so far in 2006 compared to the same period in 2005. The increase in imports in 2005 over the same period was over 8%. Imports in the week ending 21 April this year were as high as 1.338 mbd. Only during the three weeks 30 September to 14 October 2005 after the hurricanes Katrina and Rita has a higher level been recorded - 1.465 mbd. 

The U.S. is this week entering the period which usually sees the highest gasoline imports. The imports for the four-week period starting the last week in April have on average since 1996 been more than 13% higher than for the whole year. 

U.S. gasoline stocks as of 21 April were, according to the U.S. Department of Energy / Energy Information Administration (DOE/EIA), some 5% lower than on the same date in 2005. However, this may mainly be due to the U.S. switching from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) reformulated gasoline (RFG) to ethanol RFG.  

Terminals have been reducing their inventories of finished RFG, which is most likely winter grade gasoline, in order to make room for reformulated blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB) with alcohol. As the anticipated phase-out of MTBE progresses, finished RFG inventories are expected to virtually disappear.  

When MTBE was blended into the gasoline at the refinery level and then shipped via pipeline, it was included in both finished and total gasoline inventories because it was already co-mingled with the gasoline. However, when ethanol is to be blended with RBOB, only the RBOB is included in total gasoline inventories, while the ethanol is included in the “other oils” category. This places the apparently low gasoline stocks in a different light. 

Click here to view U.S. gasoline production, stocks and import development. 

Contact: Erik Ranheim