|SDistillate imports play a different supply
role than gasoline imports. Generally
Eastern Canadian refineries, Hovensa in the Virgin Islands and Venezuela
provide a rather steady inflow of product.
In some years, these sources represent most of the imports, but when
we get a cold winter, the picture changes dramatically.
|SThis slide compares two winters where we have
had cold weather surges: the winter of 1999/2000, when we had a brief cold
spell and supply pinch, and the winter of 2000/2001, which was a more
protracted, tight supply/demand balance.
These two examples illustrate that, with sudden demand surges brought
on by cold weather, distillate imports begin to flow from Eastern Europe,
Latin America, Asia, and Western Europe.
Monthly imports levels can double in these cold winter situations.
|SMany of these regions do not have low sulfur
fuel specifications yet, so much of the product that arrives during these
cold snaps can be high sulfur.