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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Price changes for January 30, 2014

Numbers are in:

Numbers here will also show the jet fuel mix which is used in winter. I'm working up these numbers to see how accurate they will be. They affect heating oil and diesel directly, with the summer mix number in parentheses.
Here's what I have for this week:

Stove oils show a drop of 1.45 cents a litre.
Heating oil shows an increase of 1.72 cents a litre (-1.45).
Diesel shows an increase of 3.1 cents a litre (+8.3).
Gasoline shows an increase of 2.4 cents a litre.

We'll see how accurate the new winter mix numbers are, so excuse me if they're off somewhat.

George Murphy
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Numbers for Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hi to all,

Here’s what I have for price changes for this week:

Heating and stove oils to increase by 3.14 cents a litre.
Diesel adds 4.4 cents a litre, and…
Gasoline shows a modest drop of just 2/10ths of a cent a litre.

Market highlights
·         A draw-down on US distillate inventories last week, combined with colder weather in the US drove distillate prices up an average of 6 cents a US gallon for heating and stove oils, but also ran up diesel prices an average of 12 cents at the latter end of the pricing session.
·         Another drop in the Canadian dollar over the last week as measured, this time cost the currency another penny against the US greenback.
·         Gasoline inventories showed a more definitive increase of over six million barrels for the week amid tepid demand.

That’s it for this week!

Regards for now,

George Murphy
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Numbers for Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hi to all,

All the data is in for this week's price changes. Not a lot of change here, except that prices will be up slightly, based on the simple fact that the Canadian dollar has taken a pounding against the US Greenback.

If the Canuck Buck keeps slipping, I can't say what we'll be paying when the summertime comes, and that if commodity prices rise along with that!

Heating and stove oils add 1.36 cents a litre this week.
Diesel prices add 1.4 cents a litre, and...
Gasoline prices add just a penny.

Pretty lucky it's only this amount, but it still really hurts knowing there's no supporting our currency right now...


George Murphy
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Perfect Storm...

Tonight, consumers of propane in the province seem to have at least a small victory on their hands, all in light of the past weekend's power crisis.

On the NTV Evening News Hour, the spokesperson from North Atlantic stipulated that consumers who have orders in that, as of yet have not been filled, will not have to pay the new regulated maximum of $1.03.1 cents a litre for product. Consumers here have been waiting here since what seems like forever, to get supplies of propane for their homes. Some homes that use propane for their central heating source still have not been addressed, while consumers who use it for things such as propane fireplaces, have been bumped further down the list for service.

Consumers of heating oil also face similar circumstances where, because of conditions like high demand and foul weather, have been at times left in the lurch. While a slower process, consumers are getting their heating and stove oils, although it can be sometimes a long wait for product.

Gasoline stations here tonight are running short across the province. That situation also has been developing for some time, with a few stations running out of product. In the face of power availability, some stations simply couldn't let you get it out of the pumps.

Others have simply been left in the lurch because of an ongoing distribution/shipping problem.

It's hard to believe that we've come to this point, but it was all predicted to happen as far back as 1998.

In that year, several things happened, none the less of which was a decision by Big Oil to enter into a "reciprocal sales arrangement" with each other's companies. It was generally agreed back then that Irving Oil would control inventory and offloading on one side of the province, and Imperial oil to stock the other. Al companies would share inventory from each others stock, and the process of the closing of coastal on-loading and offloading stations. Some marine facilities, along with various storage facilities would close permanently. Refineries would also be next...

Just this last summer, a critical piece of consumer infrastructure was lost to all Atlantic Canadian consumers. Gone would be the Imperial Oil refinery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Consumers here would remember also losing the Ultramar refinery in Holyrood. Having shut their doors, the capacity would now be handled out of the Irving refinery in New Brunswick, with the possibility of alternate supplies being imported or handled in some cases by the North Atlantic refinery in Come By Chance.

There has to be a moratorium on the further closure of refineries in this country, plain and simple. That's one problem that has escaped government scrutiny.

Its costing Newfoundland and Labrador consumers dearly.

The powers of the Competition Bureau of this country are shown to be weak, and now we're paying the piper. With a lack of available supply with the power outage affecting North Atlantic's refinery in Come By Chance, the writing is on the wall for consumers if we see the refinery close. With margins being the best they have been in months, the veritable rug was pulled out from under the feet of the refinery just when it was raising its head above water again, and all because of the power outage this last week in the province.

So much for a stable electricity source that would keep the refinery going, but without it, there's enough evidence here to sustain the thought that, we're in trouble. You can imagine the Atlantic Canada coast with only one supplier of product to an ever growing economy; We're not going to be able to meet the demand, and that means the potential for the one company left standing to call the shot on prices.

Add to all this a simple problem of getting the product to consumers like you and me.

Why product is not available in some areas and gas stations left dry is a relatively simple problem to fix, but only if Big Oil is willing to address it. Simply put, for one company, a lack of drivers out there is killing you and me at the pump with no product. People are being left to shiver in the dark because of no electricity at times, but also because there's no one to drive the heating oil product to remaining tanking facilities: some companies simply don't want to pay higher wages to those guys and girls who were driving the trucks in the first place. In places like Fort McMurray, in Labrador West, or even in the Bakken regions of the Dakotas, a much higher wage can be garnered, and that's where our drivers are headed. Sometimes you have to pay more to get the best drivers.

The out-migration of skilled workers continues.

You have to compete with other markets for employees too.

$18 an hour simply doesn't do it now in a world where our people can take a flight to jobs paying between $50 and $60 in places like Alberta.

In the meantime, if you get a minute, take the time and thank the Canadian government, along with the Competition Bureau, who stood by uselessly, and did nothing to stop the Big Oil companies from working closely together. Between them, and a power outage here that gave us the new "game day scenario" of what to expect in the future, we'll all be potentially paying the ante to the devil's pot.


It just hasn't turned into a personal one for some here in the province.

It's also turned into an economic one for everyone...


George Murphy
twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Price changes for Friday, January 3, 2014

Hi to all,

On the off-chance that I would end up with a late publishing of numbers from my source, I didn’t send out a release late last night for the Friday price change. I did subsequently get that last day of data this morning, so, here’s what I have for tomorrow’s price changes:

Keep in mind that my numbers here don’t include the allowances for the winter heating blend. They should be on track for that blending next week I hope.

·         Heating and stove oils add 1.22 cents a litre.
·         Diesel also adds an even 1.2 cents a litre, and…
·         Gasoline adds 1.6 cents a litre.

What a way to start off the New Year…

Demand for these fuels remains up with colder weather and Christmas travel. While we can’t expect anything downwards in the heating front over the next while, there may be some slight relief for gasoline as futures markets show gasoline trading somewhat lower. That, of course, is still sometime out as futures markets normally show activity a rough thrity days out.

As well a cautionary note here for heating oil consumers…

Be careful around your oil tanks and lines and make sure you keep them clear from the weight of snow! While I haven’t heard of any spill incidents this year so far, there have been in the past! It’s best that you keep your oil tanks free of any snow and ice that may snap lines and cause major damage to your property, as well as to others! Watch for any falling ice as well from the eaves of buildings and houses that can drop and cause major damage!

That’s it for this week!

Happy New Year to everyone!

George Murphy
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA