If Washington is preparing for another SPR release, it won't do it during the GOP convention and give the opposing party a political topic to address. But it will take action soon after it's over, as the window is only briefly open. And the best way to play it is with crack spreads, actually buying gasoline against the sale of crude oil; however, these are very sensitive and difficult trades to time. Another option, and the one I recommend, is playing two refiners that always seem to be at the front of the line when cheap SPR barrels are made available: Valero ( VLO) and Hess ( HES).

I already am long Valero against a short of Tesoro ( TSO) so I will be less likely to load up further on this stock. But Hess, which has done nothing in the big crude rally (the shares are currently hanging around $50), looks like a good short-term punt. Plus, if the SPR release doesn't come, you've lost nothing.

Trading by trying to guess at government action isn't usually a winner's game, but this looks like a reasonable shot to take for a short time. Wait until the middle of next week and see if I'm right.
At the time of publication, Dicker was long VLO, but positions can change at any time.

Dan Dicker has been a floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange with more than 25 years of oil trading experience. He is a licensed commodities trade adviser.

Dan is currently President of MercBloc LLC, a wealth management firm and is the author of �Oil�s Endless Bid�, published in March of 2011 by John Wiley and Sons.

Dan Dicker has appeared as an energy analyst since 2002 with all the major financial news networks. He has lent his expertise in hundreds of live radio and television broadcasts on CNBC, Bloomberg US and UK and CNNfn.

Dan obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1982.

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