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US oil-storage dips on price trends

Unfavourable futures prices have taken the steam out of the US independent oil-storage business, but physical flows of fuel components continue as a volume driver at refinery-hub terminals

Backwardation in refined oil-product prices – futures prices lower than prompt – has led traders to walk away from booked storage capacity at many US locations, with tank volumes falling and storage fees coming under pressure. But at locations where physical business is strong, the long-term growth in imports and exports of transport fuel streams has given the larger operators confidence to press on with capacity expansions. At physically driven locations, the fundamentals of the US oil market have been favourable to independent terminal operators. The slide in oil consumption since the peak of 2005 reversed in 2010 with an increase of 2.2%, according to US Energy Information Administration

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