ARA Independent Oil Product Stocks Fall (Week 27 – 2022)

ARA Independent Oil Product Stocks Fall (Week 27 – 2022)

Independently-held oil product inventories in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) area fell in the week, partly because of an increase in barge flows to unusual destinations.

Stocks at ARA fell to a four-week low, hovering close to the average for the year so far, according to data from consultancy Insights Global. Stocks have bottomed out this year amid steep backwardation in the gasoline and middle distillate markets.

Barges departed Rotterdam for Vienna and Berlin over the past week, carrying gasoline blending components and gasoil respectively. No previous shipments on either route have been recorded before. The new flows are likely the result of disruption to refineries in Germany and Austria.

Loadings from the Bayernoil refining complex in southern Germany were stopped on 30 June after a lightning strike, while supply from the Schwechat refinery in Austria has been disrupted by a delayed restart following planned maintenance.

Conventional barge movements also increased over the last week, with more naphtha moving around the ARA area and more gasoil moving up the river Rhine. Market participants are taking out long time charter agreements with barge owners in order to guard against any shortage in vessels later in the year.

Low water levels on the Rhine mean there are already minor loading restrictions in some stretches of the river, and water levels are likely to fall further if dry weather on the European continent continues.

Reporter: Thomas Warner