ARA independent product stocks up

London, 19 July (Argus) — Oil products held in independent storage tanks in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub rose by 6pc week on week to 5.8mn t today.

The increase was mostly driven by a 13pc rise in total fuel oil inventories, but stocks of most other oil product rose as barge freight rates continue to rise, weighing on demand. Barge freight rates on the Rotterdam-Karlsruhe route increased by 26pc on the week to $24/t and are now at their highest level since at least July 2017. Jet fuel stocks fell amid high seasonal demand.

Fuel oil inventories rose with no very large crude carriers (VLCCs) departing the area in the week to today. The VLCC Stallion, chartered by South Korea’s SK Energy to carry a 270,000t cargo to Singapore, was loading during the reporting period. The VLCC Fida, chartered by Shell to also carry a 270,000t cargo to Singapore, began loading on 14 July. Smaller cargoes left the area for the Mideast Gulf and the Mediterranean. Stored volumes were supported by cargoes arriving from the Black Sea, France, Russia, Spain and the UAE.

Gasoil inventories rose by 2.5pc, supported by an influx of diesel arriving from the UAE on board the VLCC Stallion. The newbuild was chartered by Asia-Pacific trading firm Winson Oil to carry a 270,000t ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) cargo to northwest Europe from Fujairah, arriving 10 July. The tanker partially discharged via ship-to-ship transfer offshore Southwold in the UK, before unloading fully in the port of Rotterdam, and being chartered to carry fuel oil to Singapore.

As with other products, the high Rhine barge freight rates impacted gasoil outflows. Barge freight rates on at least one route rose to double the cost of the equivalent pipeline transfer. Cargoes arrived from Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Gasoline inventories rose by 9pc. Transatlantic outflows remained at the levels seen in recent weeks but outgoing volumes to west Africa were lower on the week. Cargoes departed the ARA area for Canada, Latin America, the US and west Africa. Cargoes arrived from Finland, France, Norway and the UK.

Naphtha stocks rose by 3pc, supported by rising volumes of cargo arriving from Algeria. Demand from inland petrochemical end-users firmed on the week as falls in underlying crude prices boosted cracking margins. Cargoes arrived from Algeria, France, Portugal, Russia and the UK. None left the area during the reporting period.

Jet kerosine stocks fell by 1.8pc as demand remained strong through the peak summer flying season. And buying interest for jet fuel barges in the ARA increased, with market participants seeking to move volumes to regional airports. The Sti Precision arrived into Rotterdam on 13 July with 65,000t of jet fuel from Bahrain. A single cargo departed the ARA hub for the UK.

Reporter: Thomas Warner