Keep risk management principles in mind, despite today’s temptingly low prices The precipitous drop in oil prices has welcomed in the New Year and provided a much-needed respite from the pressures of competitive fuels like propane and natural gas. Though not nearly as cold a season as last year, so far anyways, this winter with […]

The genesis of risk management, frequently referred to as and synonymous with hedging, manifests itself in the heating oil industry sometime after the winter of 1985. The global financial and oil communities watched in shock as a relatively new commodity contract flushed the values of their inventory into a proverbial sinkhole.  What was valued at […]

The long awaited switch to ultra-low sulfur heating oil on the CME, owner of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), has arrived! 35 years after inception, the world’s oldest energy futures contract has been given a facelift. For the last 35 years, the contract represented heating oil with a sulfur content of 2,000 parts per […]

As heating oil dealers go about lifting product at the rack (oil terminals) every day, there are subtle, and not so subtle nuances to the variables that impact that cost.  Everyone is familiar with the obvious mover of price, the futures market. It moves with rapidity and, most would agree, unpredictably. The other price mover […]

This just in, a year is not 365 days long for oil and propane marketers.  Seasoned dealers know this by instinct and probably will tell you it is 120 days in terms of compressed seasonal demand.  In truth, a year has now been shortened to a mere 100 days or so by the degree day […]

When New York State made the bold and relatively early move to replace traditional #2 heating oil with Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel, many thought it was the best news they ever heard.  Beyond the obvious environmental implications, most dealers in New England and beyond believed it would suddenly free up one third of all the […]

Whether they would admit it or not, every fuel dealer has resorted to guessing the market at some point.  “This is the top”, “we are definitely going to sell off”, “no way this can go lower”, “nothing about this rally makes sense”…these statements are nearly universal in our world.  To be fair and respectful, they […]

The days of easy credit are a distant memory for now.  In the early part of the last decade, it seemed as though having a pulse was enough for most banks to offer a new credit line, loan you money for just about anything (including nothing…just borrowed pocket money), and assist your business with various […]

It is a rare, often inspiring moment when a single innocuous event or brief snapshot in time can somehow capture a long standing complex situation and make it all instantly crystal clear.  As if in the span of a few minutes everything comes into focus and all the important elements become distilled down to the […]