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Tight Supply Sends U.S. East Coast Jet Fuel Price Surging

The U.S. East Coast is currently seeing record high jet fuel prices as the global market of distillates is exceptionally tight after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the return of air travel after the pandemic.

The East Coast, or the PADD 1 district per Energy Information Administration (EIA) taxonomy, gets its supply of jet fuel mostly from the Colonial Pipeline from Texas and from Europe.  

These days, however, Europe is in short supply of distillates, including jet fuel, considering that traders are shunning cargoes of Russian crude and petroleum products. The European “buyers’ strike” means that European refineries have to fill the supply needs domestically and they are not exporting too much distillates to the United States.

According to Refinitiv Eikon data cited by Reuters, Europe’s exports of distillates to the U.S. East Coast have slumped by almost 60 percent year over year.  

Moreover, America’s own distillate supply is below the seasonal five-year average. Distillate fuel inventories last week were about 16 percent below the five year average for this time of year, the EIA said in its latest weekly petroleum inventory report.

At the same time, the aviation industry is shaking off two years of COVID-related restrictions on travel as strong pent-up leisure and business travel demand makes airlines optimistic that they are on track to hit 2019 levels, despite soaring jet fuel costs amid the oil price spike.

“Just as airlines fly more widebodies- a stunning difference in jet fuel prices has emerged. Filling up a 777-300ER will potentially cost ~$112,600 more at JFK than it does at ORD as jet prices scream higher in PADD 1,” GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick De Haan, said at the end of last week. 

The East Coast could soon see some relief in jet fuel prices as all refineries on the West Coast are expected to rebound to capacity after reported malfunctions in recent weeks, analysts told Reuters.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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