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Oil prices: The role of refinery utilization, futures markets and non-linearities

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  • Kaufmann, Robert K.
  • Dees, Stephane
  • Gasteuil, Audrey
  • Mann, Michael

Abstract

We test the hypothesis that real oil prices are determined in part by refinery capacity, non-linearities in supply conditions, and/or expectations and that observed changes in these variables can account for the rise in prices between 2004 and 2006. Results indicate that the refining sector plays an important role in the recent price increase, but not in the way described by many analysts. The relationship is negative such that higher refinery utilization rates reduce crude oil prices. This effect is associated with shifts in the production of heavy and light grades of crude oil and price spreads between them. Non-linear relationships between OPEC capacity and oil prices as well as conditions on the futures markets also account for changes in real oil prices. Together, these factors allow the model to generate a one-step ahead out-of-sample forecast that performs as well as forecasts implied by far-month contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange and is able to account for much of the $27 rise in crude oil prices between 2004 and 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaufmann, Robert K. & Dees, Stephane & Gasteuil, Audrey & Mann, Michael, 2008. "Oil prices: The role of refinery utilization, futures markets and non-linearities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2609-2622, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:30:y:2008:i:5:p:2609-2622
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    Cited by:

    1. Gomes, Gabriel Lourenço & Szklo, Alexandre & Schaeffer, Roberto, 2009. "The impact of CO2 taxation on the configuration of new refineries: An application to Brazil," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5519-5529, December.
    2. repec:eee:eneeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:238-246 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Silvério, Renan & Szklo, Alexandre, 2012. "The effect of the financial sector on the evolution of oil prices: Analysis of the contribution of the futures market to the price discovery process in the WTI spot market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1799-1808.
    4. Ayman Omar, 2015. "West Texas Intermediate and Brent Spread during Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Supply Disruptions," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 5(3), pages 693-703.
    5. repec:gam:jeners:v:11:y:2018:i:5:p:1207-:d:145404 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Lammerding, Marc & Stephan, Patrick & Trede, Mark & Wilfling, Bernd, 2013. "Speculative bubbles in recent oil price dynamics: Evidence from a Bayesian Markov-switching state-space approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 491-502.
    7. Coleman, Les, 2012. "Explaining crude oil prices using fundamental measures," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 318-324.
    8. Chevillon, Guillaume & Rifflart, Christine, 2009. "Physical market determinants of the price of crude oil and the market premium," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 537-549, July.
    9. Kaufmann, Robert K., 2016. "Price differences among crude oils: The private costs of supply disruptions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-8.
    10. Kaufmann, Robert K., 2011. "The role of market fundamentals and speculation in recent price changes for crude oil," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 105-115, January.
    11. Genc, Talat S., 2017. "OPEC and demand response to crude oil prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 238-246.
    12. Andreas Breitenfellner & Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, 2008. "Crude Oil Prices and the USD/EUR Exchange Rate," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 4.
    13. Meyler, Aidan, 2009. "The pass through of oil prices into euro area consumer liquid fuel prices in an environment of high and volatile oil prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 867-881, November.
    14. Gronwald, Marc, 2012. "A characterization of oil price behavior — Evidence from jump models," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1310-1317.
    15. Kesicki, Fabian, 2010. "The third oil price surge - What's different this time?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 1596-1606, March.
    16. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:77-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Kolodziej, Marek & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Kulatilaka, Nalin & Bicchetti, David & Maystre, Nicolas, 2014. "Crude oil: Commodity or financial asset?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 216-223.
    18. Kaufmann, Robert K. & Ullman, Ben, 2009. "Oil prices, speculation, and fundamentals: Interpreting causal relations among spot and futures prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 550-558, July.
    19. Fan, Ying & Xu, Jin-Hua, 2011. "What has driven oil prices since 2000? A structural change perspective," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1082-1094.
    20. Kaufmann, Robert K. & Dees, Stephane & Mann, Micheal, 2009. "Horizontal and vertical transmissions in the US oil supply chain," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 644-650, February.
    21. Kolodzeij, Marek & Kaufmann, Robert.K., 2014. "Oil demand shocks reconsidered: A cointegrated vector autoregression," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 33-40.
    22. Li, Hong & Xiaowen Lin, Sharon, 2011. "Do emerging markets matter in the world oil pricing system? Evidence of imported crude by China and India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 4624-4630, August.
    23. Antonio Merino & Rebeca Albacete, 2010. "Econometric modelling for short-term oil price forecasting," OPEC Energy Review, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, vol. 34(1), pages 25-41, March.
    24. Hahn, Warren J. & DiLellio, James A. & Dyer, James S., 2014. "What do market-calibrated stochastic processes indicate about the long-term price of crude oil?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 212-221.

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