February 2, 2008 at 1:18 pm #3811
<Read with “Could had V8 commercial” in mind, just substitute “If they had a coker & did sour crude”….. CER>
Tesoro Corp. swings to an unexpected loss
By Steve Gelsi, MarketWatch
Last update: Jan 31, 2008
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Tesoro Corp. reported Thursday an unexpected fourth-quarter loss as a surprise refinery outage cost the company about $30 million and as record crude-oil prices cut into its refining business.
The San Antonio-based company cited weak profit margins in its refining business and poor marketing margins, as well as higher operating expenses.
Tesoro also pointed to an unplanned outage at its Hawaii refinery’s reformer unit, which affected results to the tune of $30 million, including $10 million in higher repair and maintenance expenses.
Benchmark margins versus the final three months of 2006 were lower by 23% on the West Coast, by 36% in the Pacific Northwest and by 7% in the Midwest, the company said.
Quarterly revenue climbed to $6.53 billion, up from the prior year’s $4.02 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had forecast earnings of 2 cents a share and revenue of $5.88 billion, on average.
During the fourth quarter, record oil prices of $90 a barrel and higher have boosted the fortunes of crude producers — but have also weighed on refining operations as gasoline prices remained relatively stable.
Tesoro missed Wall Street’s fourth-quarter target due to larger than expected losses at the company’s Hawaii refinery, Soleil analyst Jacques Rosseau said in a note to clients.
“We expect weak conditions on the West Coast to lead to another poor quarter in the first quarter,” he said
Shares of Tesoro fell 3.7% to close at $39.21 on Thursday.
Steve Gelsi is a reporter for MarketWatch in New York
February 2, 2008 at 1:20 pm #7071
Tesoro suffered a loss in 4Q07 as crude prices cut into its profits & Hawaii reformer outage caused $30 million loss (plus $10 million for repair/maintenance). This was second quarter to have loss – which is good example to use on all buttheads that keep claiming refiners plan outages to keep prices high so they can bank big profits ….. unfortunately type folks that say this kind stupidity have lobotomies/atropy on side brain that contains reason & logic.
Both Tesoro and Valero are Independent refiners that have neither integrated crude supply nor strong dedicated crude supply agreements and during periods of short supply & high prices pay the spot market risk for that position – especially at refineries like Hawaii that must use the sweet crude that is at the high end of the spectrum. Additionally few of Tesoro 7 refineries have complexities ranking higher than Simple / Hydroskimming – a couple qualify as Complex / Cracking and only 2 qualify as Very Complex/Coking (Golden Eagle – installing Delayed coker replacing fluid coker, and last refiner in Bay to still have atmos blowdown; and Wilmington refinery) the overall average of Tesoro’s 4.3 – 14.7 complexity is ~8.3 which is way below US average.
Valero has been in news recently trying to sell several refineries Aruba (7 complexity – coker but no FCC or Reformer), Memphis (6.7 complexity), Krotz Springs (6.6), Houston (9.6) and Ardmore (9.6) which are all below average US complexities. Low complexity refineries cannot take advantage (generally) of the large delta between sweet crude price and the heavy sour crude price nor are they able to shift any heavy crude they do process into higher valued LS gasoline/diesel fuels without a large investment.
Low complexity – Sweet Crude refineries, even with Niche markets like Hawaii, become an anchor on Refiner’s profitability, and since all US refineries are universally “old” (+60 years) the lower margins on these type refineries cannot bear the weight of increasing number of outages from unit failures / accidents / fires that you see at the far end of old plants operation (even taking into account most units are either new or replaced over the years – weakest link still determines operational run times). So high crude prices & product prices may let these type refineries keep doors open – but don’t look for lot profit and if they don’t have near term plans for serious sour crude / bottoms upgrading consider them as shutdown targets. Just because Tesoro & Valero were able to purchase refineries at cost that were only $0.10-60/$1 replacement cost……doesn’t mean they get to stay & operate there (as you can clearly see on all big, very complex refineries that Valero did target for acquisition – rest smaller ones, as in Premcor purchase, were just included with the pot). Selling at top market value for them is just good business and not upgrading or not selling isn’t.
These type refineries also suffer the most when the stock market “Mutual fund traders” play the crude & products futures markets as it appears happened in 2007 – high crude price was not supported by fundamentals (and wasn’t all risk & fear premiums – that is cover story) because the fuel demand was down and the $2.5 – 2.90/gal price didn’t support a $90-100/Bbl crude price (also reason Tesoro was hit so hard). I am still hoping for market to take out this type speculation hedging which has always delt harshly in the past to someone playing volatility without physical barrels to back it up.
If it is any consolation to US refiners – China got big taste of this 4Q07 also; Government stopped exports & capped gasoline/diesel prices due rationing/inflation fears and all China “independents” had shut down because they couldn’t buy $100/B crude and sell it for $0.74-85/gal prices. And Sinopec & PetroChina government owned refiners who followed mandates had to get yet another “one-off” $CNY 30 billion baliout. <Doesn’t that reek of unfair trade practice and subsidy since this is the 4th year for the “one off” bailouts? >
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