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Refiners' margin call

They made hay while the sun shone, but rain is on the way

THE PROFITS to be had from refining crude oil into fuel are weakening, and US demand for gasoline probably won’t come to the rescue, because stocks are bulging. In Europe, refining margins are under pressure, as Brent cracks are expected to fall to $2.50 a barrel in the third quarter, according to data from Energy Aspects. That’s down from around $4/b in Q2 and $5.80/b at the same time last year. Margins in the Mediterranean will fall into negative territory – meaning refiners would pump at a loss – by the fourth quarter. That’s down from average Urals hydrocracking margins of around $2.75/b in Q2 and $5.54/b in Q4 2015. European hydroskimming margins have been in negative territory since

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