Refiner ETF Could Shake Off Energy Market Weakness

Oil refiners and sector-related ETF could continue to pump out profits as they capitalize on the differential between cheap landlocked crude oil and refined energy products.

The VanEck Vectors Oil Refiners ETF (NYSEArca: CRAK), the only exchange traded fund dedicated to oil refiners, increased 2.9% year-to-date, compared to the 4.3% decline for the S&P Energy Select Sector Index.

The energy renaissance in North America has rapidly increased crude oil production from Texas to Canada, which has also overwhelmed the inadequate infrastructure and pipelines needed to transport the commodity, leading to depressed prices in some regions, the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, the cheaper crude oil has been a boon for oil refiners, like Phillips 66 and HollyFrontier Corp., that capitalized on the difference between their cheap input costs and higher end prices for refined goods like gasoline and diesel.

“U.S. refining has really gone from being a dog to being a fairly attractive business model,” John Auers, an executive vice president at consultancy Turner, Mason & Co., told the WSJ. “I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.”