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Stillwater Associates launches Refining Margin Index

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

On 17 November, Stillwater Associates, a California-based transportation fuels consulting firm specialising in downstream markets, launched Stillwater's West Coast Watch. This market information portal provides refined petroleum and renewable fuels supply and demand data, news, and analysis to help industry leaders understand the market, spot opportunities, and act confidently.

The West Coast transportation fuels market is often described as an island, full of complexities defined by its geographic isolation. Unlike the efficient pipeline systems that run from the Gulf Coast to New York Harbor, the West Coast lacks networked infrastructure to efficiently reach markets in California, Oregon, and Washington. Instead, fuels not produced on the West Coast must be delivered by rail, tanker, barge, and truck.

According to Stillwater Associates president, Dave Hackett, this geographic isolation - along with unique gasoline and diesel specifications, and greenhouse gas reduction regulations - make the West Coast an exceptionally challenging environment. Hackett says that "Even in the best of times, the region's fuel producers, marketers, retailers, and investors face very different economic pressures than the rest of the country. It can be difficult for stakeholders in the West Coast market to find the right information to navigate these unique changes and seize opportunity."

Furthermore, the West Coast transportation fuels market is rapidly changing with significant market impacts just this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the push to decarbonise. Fuel producers, marketers, retailers, and investors need a clear view of refining profitability and fuels supply and demand trends.

West Coast Watch fills that void, offering Stillwater's expertise on this unique regional market alongside the pertinent information to paint a full picture of the transportation fuels fundamentals on the West Coast so stakeholders can make profitable decisions.

The West Coast Watch platform includes Stillwater's DataWatch dashboard, which provides regional supply and demand data for petroleum and renewable fuels alongside Stillwater's exclusive Refining Margin Index. This proprietary index accounts for the typical crude run in West Coast refineries, the cost of compliance with greenhouse gas-reduction regulations, and local refined product prices. The index includes region-specific margins for the West Coast's three major market enclaves: Southern California, Northern California, and the Pacific Northwest.

The second component of Stillwater's West Coast Watch portal is the NewsWatch, delivering curated, timely reporting on the transportation fuels market.

The final component of the portal is Stillwater's Market Analysis – a monthly report on the latest refining, petroleum product, and renewable fuels trends. This analysis delivers Stillwater's exclusive take on market developments and offers valuable forward-looking insights on what these developments may mean for stakeholders.

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