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Fuel production disruptions, transportation attacks, and Western sanctions are driving price hikes

Disturbances in trade routes and refinery closures have contributed to the rise in global fuel prices. Increases in gasoline and diesel surpass those of crude oil in some major markets. Fuel production disruptions, transportation attacks, and Western sanctions are driving price hikes.

Despite expected new refining capacity coming online, delays are common, making fuel availability uncertain in a year of record demand and U.S. elections. Experts warn gasoline prices could reach multi-year highs.

En la imagen se muestra una refinería

Although pump prices are rising slowly, low fuel reserves will keep refining margins high, according to the Energy Information Administration, prompting the agency to raise gasoline price forecasts for the second quarter. According to TransportTopics, Goldman Sachs Group notes distillate cracks benefit from low inventories and lower production, while Valero Energy Corp. expects a tight supply-demand balance due to long start-up periods for new refining capacities.

What about global production?

Following numerous delays, the Dangote refinery in Nigeria has initiated the export of fuel; however, doubts remain regarding its complete capacity and the schedule for the activation of specific units. Similar uncertainties surround Mexico’s Dos Bocas facility operated by Pemex.

Crude and raw material supply interruptions raise questions about fuel production. Russian sanctions and global trade flow changes due to Houthi attacks affect production. Concerns about gasoline component availability, especially ahead of the U.S. summer driving season, are compounded by Russian sanctions impacting alkylation and reformate production, according to Jorge Molinero of Sparta Commodities.

Global refining capacity is expected to increase this year, with varying outlooks depending on the fuel. Product margins are forecasted to be lower than in 2023 but higher than historical levels due to delays in new plants and inefficiencies caused by Russian sanctions.

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