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Here are two major trends currently underway in the US energy markets:

1. Cushing, Oklahoma inventories (the location for settlement of WTI futures) are falling to new lows. The crude backlog that existed in recent years has been resolved. Oil now moves in sufficient quantities (via Seaway and other infrastructure) to the Gulf Coast as well as to Midwest refineries to stabilize and even cut inventory in storage. Also Cushing is now often bypassed, with crude moved directly to the Gulf via rail.

2. US refineries are now pumping at record levels, as lower US crude feedstock costs contribute to refinery profitability.

Source: EIA

Oil & Gas Journal: Refinery inputs reached a record high of 16.8 million b/d in each of the past 2 weeks, exceeding the previous record from summer 2005, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Inputs at refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast have been particularly high, reflecting these refineries' access to lower-cost crude oil, expansions of refining capacity, and increases in both US demand and exports.

These dynamics are part of the reason we see outperformance in shares of firms like Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) for example.

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