MOSCOW (MRC) -- All US crude oil, gasoline and distillate stocks increased in the second week of March, as refiners raised their output with more facilities coming back online following February's devastating storms in Texas, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.
Crude inventories grew by 2.4 million barrels in the week to March 12, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, compared with analysts' expectations for a rise of 3 million barrels.
Overall stocks have been rising since February, as refiners shut down and have been slow to come back online in the wake of the storms, which knocked out power for millions and killed dozens of people.
Refinery crude runs rose by 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd), EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 7.1 percentage points, boosting overall use to 76.1% of capacity.
"Clearly the refiners are making strides towards recovery," said Tony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging. "I'd anticipate that trend continues for the next couple of weeks."
Gasoline stocks rose by 472,000 barrels, compared with expectations for a 3 million-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 255,000 barrels, versus forecasts for a 3.4 million-barrel drop.
Net US crude imports fell last week by 219,000 barrels per day. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 624,000 barrels, EIA said.
As MRC informed before, the largest US refinery, Motiva Enterprises’ 607,000 barrel-per-day Port Arthur, Texas, plant, returned to normal operations. The refinery was shut on Feb. 15 when freezing temperatures, rarely seen on the US Gulf Coast, knocked out steam supply. Motiva began restarting the refinery on Feb. 24.
Motiva Chemicals has also resumed operations at its mixed-feed cracker in Port Arthur, USA. The process of restart of this cracker with the capacity of 635,000 mt/year of ethylene and 340,000 mt/year of propylene began on 27 February, 2021, and finished late last week. The cracker wa shut along with the refinery at the same site on 14 February, 2021, because of the deep freeze.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,220,640 tonnes in 2020, up by 2% year on year. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market reached 1 240,000 tonnes in 2020 (calculated using the formula: production, minus exports, plus imports, excluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.