Today, the NYMEX continued it's winning streak - At the end of the day, we settled up across the board yet again, with Crude settling out at $48.75/bbl (+1.7%), ULSD climbed +.0268 to $1.5953 and RBOB edged up +.02111 to $1.6173.
Yesterday we talked about the OPEC production & export factors affecting the market, as well as projected slow downs in domestic oil & gas exploration. (For a refresher, you can peruse yesterdays article here: 2017s Largest One Day Rally Hits on OPEC & US Production Projections )
Today, while API projections called for a 10.23mmb draw in Crude, the EIA Inventory Report showed an actual draw of 7.2mmb. Current Crude levels are now around 483.4 mmb, or the upper end of average for this time of year. For finished products, distillates drew down 1.9mmb but are still on the upper end of what we normally see for average levels, while on gasoline, projections were calling for a build of 1.9mmb but actuals showed a draw of 1mmb.
In broader news that can potentially have huge ("YUGE!") market impacts, the Trump administration has floated the possibility of a ban on Venezuelan Crude as a U.S. response to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, should he choose to go forward with rewriting the country's constitution, in what the United States sees as a move to clamp down on opposition. The vote on rewriting the country's constitution is expected Sunday, and Platts is reporting that the U.S. Treasury department is crafting sanctions currently.
At the same time however, even as the Treasury works out the details, it appears the Administration has already backed off of the idea after looking at its potential impacts. They are now hinting at more targeted sanctions than an overall ban, but that would still likely create some serious aftershocks in the market.
Venezuela is the third largest supplier of imported Crude oil to the United States (after Canada and Saudi Arabia), and supplies a huge percentage of the Crude refined in the Gulf Coast.
A ban could be devastating for US refiners and importers, and even simply not taking the option off the table could impact the markets in a drastic way over the next few days, particularly if the option remains even theoretically possible on Monday after the vote takes place (its expected to be a "show vote" with Maduro's desired outcome essentially 100% certain).
Definitely something to keep an eye on that could drastically change the supply and pricing picture as we know it.