Oct. 2, 2014, 2:48 PM
- RBC Capital Markets’ energy analyst Brad Heffer names Marathon Petroleum (MPC -1.3%) as his top pick, and starts coverage of Tesoro (TSO -0.5%) and Valero (VLO -0.4%) at Outperform, but the stocks are lower as oil prices tumble again.
- Heffer says MPC’s refinery portfolio is well positioned, with leverage to both cheap inland crude in the Midwest and Gulf coast export markets, and the recent Hess acquisition presents a big opportunity to increase retail value going forward; MPC is still early in the drop-down cycle, and it will continue to provide shareholders with solid cash returns going forward.
- TSO is a strong operator in a tough California market, RBC says, who expects synergies from the BP acquisition to continue to improve margins, while VLO is the refiner best positioned to take advantage of Gulf Coast crude spreads, which the firm sees widening substantially in H2 2015 and into 2016.
- Phillips 66 (PSX -1.7%) and HollyFrontier (HFC -0.7%) are rated Sector Perform.
Sep. 19, 2014, 4:51 PM
- Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) has put its Torrance, Calif., refinery up for sale, Reuters reports, making it the latest big oil company to consider exiting the state amid tougher environmental standards.
- The 155K bbl/day refinery, in the south part of Los Angeles, is XOM's only refinery in California and the second smallest of its half-dozen U.S. plants.
- XOM may have some trouble making a sale, however, because of the state's environmental regulations and since several refiners including Chevron (NYSE:CVX), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) and Valero (NYSE:VLO) already operate two or more refineries there, limiting their ability to buy others.
Sep. 10, 2014, 3:28 PM
- Energy stocks, especially refiners, are taking a beating following the latest EIA inventory report that said gasoline stockpiles rose by 2.4M barrels last week, helping send U.S. crude oil futures to 16-month lows (-1.2% to $91.61/bbl) and Brent crude to 17-month lows (-1.1% to $98.02).
- The report is bearish given the large increases in refined product inventories; "even though the crude drawdown was close to expectations, it seemed to disappoint," Again Capital's John Kilduff says.
- The EIA report followed the agency’s updated demand growth report issued yesterday and this morning’s release of OPEC’s report on the oil market; both see lower demand growth this year and next.
- Oil majors are mostly lower: XOM -0.6%, CVX -1.4%, COP -0.3%, but BP (+2.9%) and RDS.A (+1%) are higher.
- Refiners are hit hard: VLO -3.6%, PSX -1.5%, MPC -1.9%, HFC -2.5%, TSO -2.9%, WNR -4.1%, CVI -1.6%, ALJ -1.8%, PBF -3.5%, DK -1.8%, CLMT -1.8%.
- ETFs: USO, XLE, OIL, UCO, ERX, VDE, OIH, SCO, ERY, XOP, DIG, BNO, UGA, DTO, DBO, DUG, IYE, IEO, CRUD, PXE, USL, PXI, PXJ, DBE, FENY, UWTI, DWTI, DNO, RJN, RYE, FXN, SZO, OLO, JJE, DDG, ONG, RGRE, OLEM, TWTI, UBN
Sep. 9, 2014, 6:52 PM
- Venezuela's PDVSA reportedly is seeking preliminary offers for its U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum by the end of September, a deal that could fetch up to $10B.
- Lazard is running the sale process for Citgo on behalf of PDVSA and is said to have sent offering materials to potential buyers; Deutsche Bank is separately exploring a sale of PDVSA's 50% stake in the Chalmette refinery in Louisiana it owns alongside Exxon.
- HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC), Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO), Western Refining (NYSE:WNR), Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) and PBF Energy (NYSE:PBF) are speculated as logical bidders for Citgo's U.S. refineries in Lemont, Ill.; Lake Charles, La.; and Corpus Christi, Tex.
Aug. 20, 2014, 7:59 AM
- Global Partners (NYSE:GLP) gained approval yesterday to unload more oil from rail cars at a marine terminal in Oregon, but Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) learned that its plans for a similar project in neighboring Washington will have to wait.
- GLP received an air permit from Oregon regulators allowing it to take 120K bbl/day of oil off trains at a terminal on the coast, where it then will go to refineries via the Columbia River.
- In Washington, a state energy siting council extended its deadline to March - which a member of the council says is unlikely to be met - to consider a 360K bbl/day terminal proposed by TSO.
Jul. 30, 2014, 6:55 PM
- Tesoro's (NYSE:TSO) Q2 earnings missed Wall Street expectations but a 2013 expansion of California operations and improved synergies helped produce a 9% Y/Y increase in earnings from continuing operations.
- Q2 revenues rose 25% Y/Y to $11.1B, well above consensus, but cost of sales widened to $9.87B from $7.91B.
- Estimates FY 2014 capital spending, excluding Tesoro Logisitcs (NYSE:TLLP), of $625M, a 7% reduction from prior guidance; TLLP capex is now seen at ~$200M, up 25% reflecting expected spending related to the construction of the Connolly Gathering System and the Anacortes truck rack.
- Gross refining margin fell to $13.35/bbl from $14.75 during the prior-year period.
- Hikes its quarterly dividend to $0.30 from $0.25 and announces a $1B stock repurchase program.
Jul. 30, 2014, 5:44 PM
Jul. 28, 2014, 12:40 PM
- Refiner stocks are dropping, in line with the margin squeeze that could result from the drop in crude oil prices, Barron's Dimitra DeFotis writes.
- Rising violence in Libya continues to affect energy assets, but attempts for peace between Israel and the Palestinians over the weekend may be taking some of the risk out of energy markets; Brent prices are down nearly 1% to $107.76/bbl, narrowing the spread with West Texas crude, off 0.3% to $101.74.
- ALJ -3.3%, TSO -1.6%, WNR -0.9%, HFC -0.8%, VLO -0.6%, PSX -0.4%, MPC -0.2%.
Jul. 21, 2014, 4:59 PM
- Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) announces plans to produce petrochemical feedstock in its U.S. west coast refining system, gathering intermediate feedstock, primarily reformate, for xylene extraction at Anacortes, Wash.
- An initial investment of ~$400M is designed to recover up to 15K bbl/day of mixed xylene, whose global market TSO says is growing 5%-7% annually, primarily driven by demand in Asia.
Jul. 15, 2014, 11:33 AM
- Valero Energy (VLO -0.2%) climbs off sharp early losses after reporting Q2 guidance below Wall Street consensus.
- Wells Fargo analysts expect Q2 throughput volumes will be generally as expected, while capture rates will fall short of prior expectations likely due to weaker crack spreads; it lowers its Q2 and FY 2014 EPS estimates to a respective $1.18 and $5.87 from $1.31 and $6.00.
- Raymond James analysts continue to “tread lightly” with the refiners, skeptical that WTI-Brent spreads can reach heights needed to drive EPS expectations higher for 2015 and beyond.
- Other refiners are mostly higher after early losses: TSO +0.7%, HFC +0.3%, MPC +0.7%, PSX +0.4%, ALJ -0.5%, WNR +0.4%, CVI +0.8%.
Jul. 9, 2014, 6:54 PM
- Shares of refiners such as Phillips 66 (PSX), Holly Frontier (HFC), Valero Energy (VLO) and Alon USA Energy (ALJ) have suffered since the U.S. government decided to allow the export of some ultra-light crude oil, and Barclays believes upcoming earnings reports aren't likely to help much.
- U.S. refiners have fared better than international peers but still have been hit by the narrowing in most of the key North American crude differentials, although refiners exposed to the Cushing-Midland differential are affected less than most, the firm says.
- As a result, Barclays slashes its current-year earnings forecast for most of the refiners; ALJ's FY 2014 EPS estimate is cut to $0.35 from $1.25 to reflect the company’s lower Q2 throughput guidance at its Big Spring refinery (39M bbl/day vs. 46M bbl/day prior).
- The firm cuts EPS at HFC to $3.00 from $4.35, PSX to $6.20 from $7.95, and VLO to $6.25 from $8.35; only Tesoro (TSO) emerges unscathed, with its estimate left at $5.00.
Jun. 30, 2014, 10:47 AM
- Last week's surprise move by the U.S. government to allow the export of condensate products hit the refining sector hard, but the analyst team at Cowen remains bullish on top refiners, believing actual crude exports are highly unlikely and there is no change to the spirit of the law.
- Cowen remains bullish for the longer term and sees potential for a meaningful feedstock advantage for U.S. refiners emerging later this year, with U.S. crude production inflecting at 9M bbl/day and Gulf Coast imports baselining at 2.8M-3M bbl/day.
- Cowen's five favorite refiners are MPC, PBF, TSO, VLO, WNR; the condensate export issue took a toll on the stocks, and investors can buy some of them as much as 15% cheaper than two weeks ago.
Jun. 27, 2014, 4:53 PM
- All U.S. crude oil that is processed by a distillation tower - not just condensate - is exempt from the crude export ban, potentially widening the amount of petroleum U.S. producers can send to markets abroad, Reuters reports, citing U.S. government and industry sources.
- By focusing on how the oil is treated rather than what it is, this week's ruling allowing two companies that produce condensate to export the oil if it is processed by a distillation tower appears to open an option for companies that produce traditional crude to get around the export ban by lightly boiling their own oil, the report says.
- The new interpretation of the ruling will add to the speculation over how much of the U.S. shale oil boom might reach overseas markets.
- ETFs: USO, OIL, XLE, UCO, ERX, VDE, OIH, SCO, ERY, DIG, BNO, DTO, DBO, DUG, IYE, CRUD, USL, PXJ, FENY, UWTI, DWTI, DNO, RYE, SZO, FXN, OLO, DDG, OLEM.
- Domestic oil stocks: OAS, NOG, KOG, CLR, WLL, EOX, SM, SFY, PVA, GST, SN, CRK, BBG.
- Global majors: XOM, CVX, BP, RDS.A, RDS.B.
- Refiners: VLO, HFC, MPC, TSO, WNR, ALJ, PSX, PBF, DK, NTI, ALDW, CVI.
Jun. 27, 2014, 3:59 PM
- Refiners are lower again today after a slight bounce yesterday, as investors resume wariness over the U.S. government's move to allow exports of ultra-light crude oil.
- But Credit Suisse analysts say there’s more to the drop in refiners: U.S. refining is still linked to the world, there is overcapacity in global refining and the risk premium in the oil price is rising, and this week the market was reminded that the lightest barrels (condensate) in U.S. production can be exported (via distillation towers) at relatively low cost, creating more runway for black oil.
- The firm downgrades Holly Frontier (HFC -2.5%), and says Tesoro (TSO -0.7%) needs to beat convincingly in 2Q earnings... to drive further relative upside”; however, Marathon Petroleum (MPC -1.7%) "is becoming significantly more interesting after underperforming,” while it sees most potential in niche refiners such as Delek US (DK -3.4%) and Western Refining (WNR -0.9%).
- Also: VLO -1.1%, ALJ -2.5%, PSX -0.7%, PBF -3.5%, CVI +0.4%, CLMT +1.5%.
Jun. 26, 2014, 3:33 PM
- Most refiners recover part of yesterday's big drop, which some say was an overreaction to the U.S. government move to allow two oil companies to export ultra-light crude oil for the first time: TSO +2.8%, VLO +2%, PSX +1%, CVI +0.7%, CLMT +0.7%, WNR +0.6%, MPC +0.2%, ALJ -1%, PBF -0.6%, HFC -0.3%.
- The death of U.S. refiners is "greatly exaggerated," Cowen analysts say: "The spirit of the law - that hydrocarbon liquids produced in the U.S. must be processed in the U.S. - remains in place, and permits for condensate exports do not constitute precedent for crude oil... We continue to see potential for a meaningful feedstock advantage for U.S. refiners emerging later in 2014."
- Ned Davis Research, however, thinks the news is "potentially game changing for refiners," since it signals a change in the government’s position on oil exports more broadly and noting that it is the export ban, plus inadequate pipeline infrastructure, that has fed recent refiner outperformance.
Jun. 25, 2014, 10:18 AM
- Refiners take a beating in early trading, as a lift of the ban on U.S. oil exports is expected to narrow the WTI-Brent spread, which could cause refiners' profits drop if they are forced to pay higher prices to compete with international buyers for U.S. crude.
- “We don’t think the current system needs to be changed,” Valero Energy tells Bloomberg.
- Yesterday's rulings gave Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD +2.6%) and Enterprise Products Partners (EPD +1.4%) permission to ship ultralight oil to foreign buyers - a narrow ruling, but one that is likely to spark similar requests from other companies, and increase lobbying for a full lifting of the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil.
- Refining stocks are broadly lower: VLO -7.4%, PBF -5.8%, MPC -5.7%, WNR -5.5%, DK -5.4%, HFC -4.6%, ALDW -4.6%, TSO -3.8%, NTI -3.5%, PSX -2.9%, ALJ -2.7%, CVI -2.3%.
Tesoro Corp is an independent petroleum refiner and marketer in the United States. Its subsidiaries operate through three business segments, transport crude oil and manufacture, transport and sell transportation fuels.
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