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Every successful energy trader relies on experience and a certain amount of instinct. They are irreplaceable assets when contemplating, establishing, and defending a trading position. But even the most seasoned trader must rely on the cold, hard data. "Knowing the numbers" has been the foundation upon which PIRA Energy Group has built its reputation of being the most respected resource for energy market analysis and intelligence, now relied on by over 500 companies worldwide. PIRA's online tool, the Oil Products Trading Analyzer (OPTA), is a reflection of that philosophy. It is the ideal resource to the industry player who recognizes that fundamentals are the foundation to making good trades.
OPTA provides the latest detailed market analysis, light product balances, and prices for petroleum products. It features current and historical data for production, stocks, demand, exports, and imports, along with PIRA's latest assessments of refinery margins and turnarounds. Subscribers are able to access current contract prices for futures, cracks, and spreads; moving-average analysis; Commitment of Traders statistics; and even a first-of-its kind worldwide arbitrage model.
The key feature of OPTA is the Trading Enhancer, where users get easy access to the same important data inputs and assumptions that are used by PIRA to forecast price relationships. Traders can judge the fair value of cracks and time spreads for NYMEX gasoline, distillate fuel oil and IPE gasoil. The same can be done for cash values versus first-month contracts.
Through its easy-to-access wealth of data and the tools necessary to extract and analyze the numbers, OPTA helps traders, refiners, and marketers to determine “fair value” of the products they deal in. They now have a critical advantage, because fair value gives them:
In one easy-to-navigate site, OPTA provides a wealth of data and research tools designed specifically for the sophisticated oil products trader. These features include:
The key feature of OPTA, the Trading Enhancer offers the same tools that PIRA consultants use in developing their price forecasts. Users can view historical contract and cash prices on the basis of action during their tenures as the front month and at contract expiration, both relative to days supply forward cover. Prices for individual futures contracts, cash-versus-futures spreads, front-to-back spreads, and crack spreads can be examined to determine timing of seasonal trends, view price history under a similar supply/demand environment and inventory situation, and forecast market moves. These relationships can be utilized as a predictive tool in forecasting price or planning trading/hedging strategies and planning refinery operations.
The charts provide a matrix of data points (including the latest settlement price) overlaid on a vertical line of days supply forward cover (DSFC). A trend line can show you the likely "fair value" of that contract as determined by recent history — and therefore reveal what position to take on that contract. Subscribers can view the Trading Enhancer using the end-month DSFC or average DSFC, as well as input their own custom DSFC figure.
The OPTA Arbitrage Model offers interactive modeling capabilities linked to the most recent price and freight data, LS diesel coverage, revealing current product arbitrage opportunities for gasoline, RBOB, jet kerosene, distillate fuel oil, or residual fuel oil. Historical data are also provided. Users can monitor markets to assess and anticipate opening — or closing —plays by accessing a detailed breakout of each arbitrage, including:
In this mode, OPTA users can view PIRA’s latest forecast of monthly crude runs and light product supply/demand balances for the U.S., Europe and Japan. These balances provide an effective road map to estimate and anticipate run levels and import/exports, creating a basis to view the impact of increasing, or decreasing, product demand in each region. Ultimately, inventory levels drive relative prices, and these are determined by the balances. The spreadsheets include:
PIRA does a detailed turnaround survey of U.S. refiners along with a "best-guess" estimate of European and Japan monthly turnarounds. U.S. data is shown by-PADD for crude distillation and FCC units as well as monthly overall U.S. details for hydrocrackers, cokers and reformers. PIRA also provides a weekly turnaround assessment looking ahead 5 weeks showing PADD detail for crude distillation and FCC units. When considered in the context of projected light product balances, turnaround information can provide insight into potential openings of arbitrage plays and price activity for futures, cracks and spreads.
This mode includes the most recent data covering source and destination for gasoline and distillate/gasoil moving to and from the U.S. and Western Europe. Also included are the latest Suez Canal movements for these two products, tying the East (Asia) to the West. Historical data provide insight into regularly occurring arbitrage opportunities, timing, sources, and destinations, and they tie in with price activity on futures exchanges. What moved where in recent months and in the prior year provide insight into future movements.
Located at the junction of the Ruhr and the Rhine rivers, in the key Ruhr region, Ruhrort is the largest river harbor in Europe. While freight rates are impacted by a number of factors, including supply/demand of shipping and diesel prices, water levels represent a key driver, dictating the amount of product that can be loaded on barges. If water levels are low, barges will carry less load, which means reduced efficiency and therefore higher per-barrel transportation costs. Also, low water levels imply more product gets backed up into the ARA area. In addition, other obstacles to navigation, like flooding, may affect transportation costs.
This mode provides a one-click source of NYMEX and IPE futures data:
Moving Average Charts. Graphical representation of the settlement price and 13-, 34-, 40-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages for each futures contract.
This mode provides a wealth of data divided into two parts:
Current and historical weekly Commitment of Trader data for all NYMEX futures and options contracts.
Charts that indicate recent trends in comparisons of commodity price vs. non-commercial net positions.
This mode provides a series of charts that show recent netback refining margin trends. The 10 margin calculations are based upon data generated by PIRA’s refinery model simulation of operations in each regional refining center. Historical data are available in Excel and chart format. The margins include:
A key part of PIRA's Global Oil Retainer Service, the DOE Weekly Analysis provides PIRA’s weekly tabulation of DOE statistics along with expert analysis that points out emerging trends behind the data. The report — published every Wednesday after the DOE releases its “Weekly Petroleum Status Report" — is conveniently bundled into OPTA for ready reference, giving users the ability to compare most recent data to historical data in order to prepare their own analysis and identify trends as they unfold.
Also available in this mode is a series of charts, providing a graphical perspective on the recent history of the following items:
Commercial Stocks, by PADD
Four Major Products Supplied
Reformulated Gasoline Imports
Crude Oil Commercial Imports
Gasoline Blending Components Imports
Reformulated Gasoline Stocks
Crude Oil Commercial Stocks
Gasoline Blending Components Stocks
Residual Fuel Oil Imports
High Sulfur Distillate Stocks
Residual Fuel Oil Products Supplied
Distillate Products Supplied
Jet Kero Imports
Residual Fuel Oil Stocks
Jet Kero Products Supplied
Total Gasoline Imports
Finished Gasoline Imports
Jet Kero Stocks
Total Gasoline Stocks
Finished Gasoline Products Supplied
Unfinished Oils Stocks
A key part of PIRA's Global Oil Retainer Service and OPTA, the Japan Weekly Oil Analysis, distributed each Wednesday, focuses on the current supply/demand conditions in Japan, with an explicit forecast of supply/demand for the following week and PIRA’s broader expectation for market conditions over the next 30 days. In addition to the written analysis, each week includes an updated data table that covers:
Accompanying the written analysis and data table is a series of charts that include:
This mode provides a useful summary in Excel format of NYMEX Open Interest for crude oil, heating oil, unleaded gasoline, and natural gas. The data include a summary for front month, total open interest, and the ratio of front month to total, broken down by the number of days before contract expiration. There is also a summary sheet listing the Open Interest and trade prices broken down by the contract trade date, as well as a sheet comparing open interest for current and recent front-month contracts versus last year.
OPTA has an entire section devoted to futures analysis, giving users exclusive, timely and convenient access to PIRA's constantly updated daily NYMEX and IPE price data and charts, which include historical and current price discovery to facilitate analysis. Users can examine specific contract performance from a historical perspective (e.g. April gasoline contract performance during March for each of the past five years). This capability extends to all spreads and contracts, enabling the user to identify recurring patterns and historical trade entry and exit points.
Data retrieval (to 1986) allows the user to view the contract or spread's 12-month strip for that date over history in order to examine historical market structure and relationships. For example, a user could look at the entire strip for crude oil on November 1 during each of the past eight years.
The Futures Analysis section is divided into three modes:
OPTA has been designed to provide a cutting-edge tool for traders who need a predictive tool to understand price movements. Users of OPTA will likely also benefit from PIRA's Oil Trade Flow Portal (OTF). OTF provides detailed, interactive balances and trade flows for crude and major refined products, both short-term and long-term. It features user-defined data tables — broken out into 13 distinct regions — on refinery product production/yields, crude production/runs, product demand, net inter-regional trade flows, inventory changes and so on. Learn more about OTF.
OPTA can be purchased on its own or, at a discount, as an add-on for clients to PIRA’s Global Oil Retainer Service. The extent of the discount depends on the client's current package. Clients to PIRA’s Oil Trade Flow Portal receive a further price reduction. For options and fees, please contact your PIRA sales representative.