Diesel Slides as Ukraine Crisis Threat to Supply Recedes

Diesel futures fell along with crude oil on lessening concern that tensions between Russia and Ukraine would disrupt energy supply.

Prices slipped as much as 2 percent. Russian President Vladimir Putin said there’s no immediate need for his country to invade eastern Ukraine. Troops stationed in Crimea, where Russia keeps its Black Sea fleet, have only been securing their bases, according to Putin. Russian military exercises along Ukraine’s eastern border ended on schedule today.

“The market has come off on the fact Putin has ended his military drills,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “The market will calm down a bit unless we see tensions escalate in Ukraine over the next few days.”

Ultra low sulfur diesel for April delivery fell 4.82 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $3.0323 a gallon at 10:16 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, on volume that was 13 percent above the 100-day average.

In his first public remarks since protesters overthrew Viktor Yanukovych last month, President Putin reserved the right to use force to protect ethnic Russians. The U.S. has threatened sanctions against Russia and is preparing $1 billion of aid to bolster the new administration in Kiev.

Brent oil slid 1.7 percent and gasoil 2.1 percent on ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.4 percent on Nymex.

Diesel’s crack spread versus WTI, a rough measure of refining profitability, narrowed 61 cents to $23.85 a barrel. The premium over European benchmark Brent crude slipped 22 cents to $17.96.

Gasoline Slides

Gasoline for April delivery declined 3.85 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.9818 a gallon on volume that was 39 percent below the 100-day average.

The motor fuel’s crack spread versus WTI narrowed 16 cents to $21.77 a barrel. Its premium to London-traded Brent crude rose 22 cents to $15.87.

The average U.S. pump price gained 0.1 cent to $3.46 a gallon, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA. Prices have risen 25 consecutive days to the highest level since Sept. 23. Drivers are paying 28.6 cents less than a year ago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara Powell in Houston at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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