Oil prices hit fresh multi-year highs overnight as tensions over the situation in Iran, and a looming deadline for the White House to make a decision on sanctions, seems to be keeping the sellers at bay. WTI peaked out at $62.56 overnight, just 2 points shy of its May 2015 high, while Brent topped out at $68.29.
A variety of weather-related issues are complicating boat and terminal traffic along the North East coast of US and Canada and have caused a handful of refinery issues in the Midwest. Numerous terminal shutdowns to deal with frozen equipment or malfunctioning units have been reported, while sea ice is wreaking havoc on shipping lanes. In addition, a butane leak near the Irving refinery in Saint John prompted evacuations Monday, and seemed to help RBOB futures find a bid as that plant is a key importer to the NY Harbor region.
The good news for the Winter weather weary is that a warm up has arrived across much of the country, and we’re already seeing ULSD spreads relax as a result. Although there have been a handful of minor refinery issues reported from Illinois to Ohio, so far it seems that major damage has been avoided and any supply disruptions are likely to be limited to a handful of regional terminal markets.