Oct. 27, 2014, 9:44 AM
- Venezuela is canceling plans to sell its Citgo U.S. refining unit, the country’s finance minister says, apparently the victim of falling oil prices, declining refining margins, and unscheduled downtime among Citgo's refineries.
- Venezuelan officials indicated earlier this year that they were looking to sell Citgo for as much as $10B, and HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC), Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO), Western Refining (NYSE:WNR), Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) and PBF Energy (NYSE:PBF) were speculated as potential bidders for Citgo's three U.S. refineries.
- Analysts at the risk consultancy Eurasia Group recently warned that a sale of Citgo would leave fewer assets for investors to target if Venezuela defaults.
Oct. 20, 2014, 7:39 AM
- Tesoro Logistics (TLLP, TSO) agrees to acquire the natural gas pipeline and processing business owned by QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) in a $2.5B deal.
- TLLP says the deal will expand its scope to include natural gas in addition to oil, as QEP owns gas processing plants and oil and gas pipelines in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and North Dakota.
- To help pay for the deal, plans a public offering of 19.35M common units.
- QEP says selling the midstream business would improve its financial position and help it pay down debt, as well as improve its competitive position through increased capital investment in its E&P assets.
- Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) and Questar (NYSE:STR) reportedly had submitted bids for the assets.
Oct. 14, 2014, 6:57 PM
- Refiners implore Pres. Obama to remain firm on plans to scale back renewable fuel quotas for 2014, warning that if the administration gives in to Corn Belt demands for higher mandates, it could cause gasoline prices to spike.
- The EPA last year proposed cutting the amount of renewable fuel required for 2014 to 15.2B gallons, ~3B gallons below the amount prescribed in federal statutes, including up to 13B gallons from traditional corn-based ethanol and 2.2B gallons of advanced biofuels.
- But administration officials have hinted they could boost the final targets, justified in part because gasoline consumption has also risen since the proposal was first unveiled last year.
- Among signers of a letter to Obama were Valero (NYSE:VLO) CEO Joseph Gorder and Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) CEO Gregory Goff.
Oct. 9, 2014, 2:57 PM
- J.P. Morgan has a favorable outlook on the refining sector heading into Q3 earnings, as the group has sold off since September on a combination of factors, including fears about the crude export ban being lifted and narrowing crude differentials, despite good product cracks.
- Two of the biggest drops among refiners have been suffered by Valero Energy (VLO -2.7%) and HollyFrontier (HFC -2.6%), each ~13% since the group's peak; of the two, JPM likes VLO going into the quarter, particularly in the event of any favorable updates around capital allocation.
- The firm thinks Tesoro (TSO -3.2%) is set up for another solid quarter but that investors must be expecting it, given that shares are down only ~3%.
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%.
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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.
TSO vs. ETF Alternatives
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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