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Oil market recap: 22nd December figures

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

For the week ending 22nd December 2013, PIRA Energy Group expected Brent crude prices to stay strong and noted a decline in US stocks accelerating.

Brent crude prices

  • Brent prices are expected to stay strong in the first quarter of 2014 due to tight global demand/supply balances and low inventories.
  • Prices will trend lower later in the first quarter as refinery maintenance cuts crude demand and crude supply continues its unrelenting growth in the US.


  • After declines in 2011 and 2012, European gasoline and gasoil/diesel demand appears to be showing some signs of bottoming out.
  • European GDP growth is expected to accelerate in 2014 and 2015.
  • Increased economic activity will be a plus for non-highway diesel demand. On highway use of diesel is expected to expand.


  • Crude stocks declined due to import increases.
  • Japanese gasoline and gasoil demands both eased and both stock levels built slightly.
  • Japanese refinery margins eased slightly with lower middle distillate cracks more than offsetting gains in gasoline, naphtha and fuel oil cracks.
  • Refinery margins are running just under statistical means.

Latin America, Asia and the USA

  • Crude exports from Latin America to Asia are on the increase.
  • Latin America crude exports the US are trending lower.
  • Some Latin American countries are shifting exports to Asia more aggressively than others.


  • Product demand reached 21 million bpd, a new year high.
  • Stock decline increased to 12.6 million bbls.
  • Total commercial stocks are over 23 million bbls lower than the same time last year.


  • Before 2012, Venezuela imported almost no gasoline or diesel from the US.
  • Between the beginning of 2012 and September 2013, imports of both averaged 45 million bpd.
  • Outages in Venezuelan refineries are a cause of this along with diesel demand for power generation. 

Adapted from a press release by Claira Lloyd

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