Thursday, August 10, 2017

Impacts of Intra-Weekly Ethanol Storage Measurements on Ethanol Exports

With storage terminals becoming more and more efficient in loading and unloading operations, a lot can happen within a week. For instance, at Texas International Terminals in Galveston, Texas, the terminal has 20,000 feet of unit train landing track and designed to discharge via rail at 15,000 barrels per hour. The terminal’s loading docks are also capable of loading onto vessels at a rate of 11,500 barrels per hour with potential for expansion.

Genscape began measuring ethanol storage at Texas International Terminals on July 7, 2017. Between the initial and following week’s measurements, total ethanol storage differed by only 6,246 barrels suggesting very little change from one week to the next. Over this same period, daily measurements were collected as well. It was discovered that while weekly measurements indicated a lack of storage movement, there was actually more to the story.  

Ethanol Storage Measurements at Texas International-Galveston
Figure 1: Week-over-week ethanol storage measurements at Texas International-Galveston. Click to enlarge
Daily ethanol storage levels taken at Texas International Terminals
Figure 2: Daily storage levels taken at Texas International Terminals. Click to enlarge
Over the course of the week, roughly 57,000 barrels of ethanol were delivered to the terminal. However, on July 12, there was a withdrawal of 63,000 barrels of ethanol resulting in a net change of only 6,246 barrels from July 7 to July 14.

The Nordic Mari, a chemical oil products tanker, was moored at the time of the withdrawal indicating that roughly 63,000 barrels of ethanol was loaded onto the vessel. This was confirmed by visual imagery and data collected through Genscape Vesseltracker™. Brazil port data at Itaqui later validated that the Nordic Mari delivered roughly 62,000 barrels at the end of the July.

The Nordic Mari arrived at Texas International Terminals
Figure 3: The Nordic Mari arrived at Texas International Terminals on July 12 corresponding to the large ethanol withdrawal from the facility. Click to enlarge
In addition to Texas International Terminals, Genscape is performing the same daily tank level measurements at four other terminals in the Houston and New Orleans area focusing on terminals that store and export ethanol. Genscape flies over these terminals once a week to collect detailed tank level measurements using infrared imagery.

In review of these terminals, it is apparent that daily storage information can provide greater insight into ethanol movement into and out of the Gulf Coast. Major events that occur at storage terminals, such as vessel loading, cannot slip under the radar with this level of granularity.

Beginning next month, Genscape plans to expand on this intra-week storage analysis. By pairing daily tank measurements with vessel monitoring, it can be detected when ethanol is loaded onto vessels. Furthermore, this information can provide timely information and transparency into ethanol exports well ahead of the ITC or EIA.

Using proprietary technology, Genscape delivers weekly ethanol storage measurements a full day ahead of EIA estimates in the PADD 3 region. Genscape’s Gulf Coast Ethanol Inventory Report provides actual measured ethanol inventories as a reference point to gain transparency and help better understand market supply and demand. For more information on Genscape’s Ethanol Inventory reports or upcoming Ethanol Exports Monitor, please click here.

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