Jul. 7, 2014, 3:27 PM
- Western Refining (WNR +1.9%) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral with a $55 price target, raised from $43, at Citigroup, which sees a potential restructuring helping to unlock shareholder value.
- Citi believes WNR could restructure into a holding company with the limited and general partnership interests in Northern Tier Energy (NTI -0.9%) and Western Refining Logistics (WNRL -1.4%), which would allow WNR to generate a ~10% free cash flow yield over its forecast period.
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%.
Jun. 12, 2014, 11:22 AM
- The refining analysts at Cowen say that although Q2 earnings estimates are coming down and Q3 also could prove challenging, they believe asset quality will be rewarded and see higher crude prices as setting up a buying opportunity in their five favorite sector names.
- Topping the list is Marathon Petroleum (MPC), which Cowen rates at Outperform with a $120 price target; the firm's other favorites are PBF, TSO, VLO and WNR.
May. 15, 2014, 4:59 PM
- Oil refiners will be required to further curb air pollution from storage tanks, flares and heavy-oil processing equipment under proposed rules released today by the EPA.
- The proposed rules also would require refiners for the first time to measure concentrations of cancer-causing benzene at their fence lines and provide the data to the public.
- Top refiners include VLO, TSO, PSX, ALJ, MPC, WNR, HFC, CVI, DK and CLMT.
May. 6, 2014, 6:06 AM
Apr. 28, 2014, 12:45 PM
- Prices of U.S. crude grades such as West Texas Intermediate are starting to disconnect from Brent benchmark prices again, rebounding to ~$9/bbl two weeks after hitting a low for the year of less than $3.70.
- Stocks at the Cushing, Okla., hub have dropped by 16M barrels since late January but have jumped by 43M on the Gulf coast; overall, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories now stand at their highest level on record, according to Barclays.
- With the oil stuck there with nowhere to go, Gulf coast refiners can name their price - great for the likes of Valero Energy (VLO +1.9%), because they can then refine that oil into products such as gasoline that are allowable for export.
- Also today: PSX +0.9%, MPC +1.8%, HFC +0.7%, TSO +1.3%, CVI +0.9%, WNR +0.2%, PBF +1.1%, CLMT +2.3%, ALJ -1.2%.
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, DTO, DBO, BNO, CRUD, USL, UWTI, DNO, DWTI, SZO, OLO, OLEM, TWTI
Apr. 21, 2014, 6:37 PM
Apr. 4, 2014, 11:43 AM
- UBS analysts say the best is yet to come for U.S. refiners, believing growth in U.S. light oil production from shale risks overwhelming the country’s ability to absorb the barrels with the potential for a price blowout in the difference between Brent crude and Louisiana Light Sweet, with refining stocks as big beneficiaries.
- With oil prices hovering near $100 mark and the busy summer travel season coming soon, demand should only increase; if refinery investors get the spread blowout many are looking for by Q4, the firm thinks it could get exciting for the top names.
- UBS top refining stocks to buy now: CVRR, NTI, PSX, TSO, VLO, WNR.
Mar. 5, 2014, 6:21 PM
- Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said at the CERAWeek conference this week that the oil industry has failed to make a convincing case for why the U.S. government should allow the export of domestic oil when the U.S. still imports 5M bbl/day.
- The statement should please America's refiners, who have enjoyed increased profits from buying U.S. oil on the cheap to produce products such as gasoline.
- At the same time, Moniz went further than before in suggesting the Obama administration could redo the economic analysis that underpins its decisions on exporting American natural gas.
- Moniz also dismissed speculation that the Obama administration has in mind a hard cap on possible natural gas exports.
- Refiners: PSX, MPC, HFC, VLO, TSO, WNR, NTI, DK, CLMT, ALJ, CVI.
Feb. 28, 2014, 2:48 PM
- Refiners mostly continue to languish after shares were hammered yesterday as the Brent-WTI spread narrowed to its tightest level since last October.
- Credit Suisse isn't too excited about the near-term outlook; while March-April could see some widening of the spread given the transfer of inventory from Cushing to the Gulf, summer crude spreads should remain tight given as East of Rockies refineries ramp up for peak gasoline demand.
- On individual stocks, the firm says Western Refining (WNR -3%) and Phillips 66 (PSX +0.1%) should benefit from other businesses, while Tesoro (TSO +1.1%) could benefit from being recognized as a “Gulf Coast Refiner” but Delek US (DK -3.5%) needs to show signs of earnings improvement before it's worth buying.
- ETFs: XLE, ERX, OIH, VDE, ERY, DIG, DUG, XES, IYE, IEZ, PXJ, PXI, PSCE, FENY, FXN, RYE, DDG.
Feb. 27, 2014, 3:46 PM
- Oil refiners are getting hit today as Brent crude falls to its lowest price in more than a week on rising tensions in Ukraine, shrinking the premium to West Texas crude to the narrowest level since October.
- Given Ukraine’s location, the country's situation obviously will impact Brent more than WTI; meanwhile, WTI’s losses are limited after U.S. government data yesterday showed crude supplies at Cushing, Okla., declining to a four-month low.
- Phillips 66 (PSX -2.8%) has dropped 3.5% YTD, while Delek US (DK -5.3%) has plunged 17%, Valero (VLO -4.3%) has slipped 3.8%, Holly Frontier (HFC -3.1%) has fallen 8.2% and Marathon Petroleum (MPC -4.4%) is off 8.5% in 2014.
- Other decliners today: TSO -1.5%, ALJ -5.4%, WNR -4.2%, CVI -3.4%, CLMT -0.7%.
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, DBO, DTO, BNO, CRUD, USL, DNO, UWTI, SZO, DWTI, OLO, OLEM, TWTI
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