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Crude: Storage Shortage Calling the Tune

|Includes: The United States Oil ETF, LP (USO)

 Armed with a pass from Chevron (NYSE:CVX) CEO, Dave O’Reilly, I drove out to the company’s Richmond, California refinery to see how bad the crude storage situation really is. This is where tankers unload crude from Alaska’s Aleyaska Pipeline for refining into gasoline and other products. What do I find, but mile upon mile of full tank cars, the firm’s storage facilities already loaded to the gills. The industry’s central delivery facility at Cushing, Oklahoma is full, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is full, and if any more crude is imported, it will have to be stored in left over milk bottles. The filling of the last bit of storage in the US is what’s behind the two week, $15 drop in oil, now that contango driven traders can no longer profitably buy spot, sell forward, and store in the interim. Owners are choking on the stuff. Investor buying of crude as the new reserve currency is what caused it to double this year, not demand by end users. I’m sorry, but I’m an old school hedge fund manager. If a company tells me something, I have to go out to the storage facility, mine, well, pit, warehouse, and see it for myself.