ARA oil product stocks decline

London, 26 July (Argus) — Oil products held in independent storage tanks in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub declined this week because of a large drop in gasoline inventories.

Gasoline stocks dropped by more than 12pc week on week, largely because of a high level of exports. European gasoline was shipped to the Mideast Gulf, Latin America, the US and west Africa, where demand rose significantly compared with the prior week. Exporters have been facing increasingly unworkable spot arbitrage economics between Europe and the US. But stocks in the US dropped to the lowest level since 11 May this week, which will likely stimulate transatlantic exports.

Fuel oil stocks also fell, dropping by 2.5pc from the prior week. The VLCC Nisalah finished loading fuel oil from Rotterdam and departed for Singapore, resulting in a decline in inventories. Imported volumes increased, partially offsetting the impact of exports on stocks. No new VLCC bookings have surfaced so far this week as the economics for exporting fuel oil to Asia-Pacific weakened.

Jet fuel stocks dropped by 5pc from the prior week as no product was imported and demand remained strong. Arrivals from east of Suez and the US were offloaded into other ports in northwest Europe, including Le Havre.

Gasoil stocks increased despite unviable US Gulf coast diesel arbitrage economics to northwest Europe. Product continued to arrive from the Mideast Gulf and a flurry of MR tanker bookings have emerged in recent days to load Baltic diesel for European discharge, which is likely to keep the European gasoil market well-supplied. Inland demand remains firm, but persistently low Rhine water levels have reduced barge loading capacity and drove barge freight rates higher, contributing to the increase in stocks.

And naphtha stocks rose marginally, climbing by just 1,000t on the week. The ARA region imported the product from France, Portugal, Sweden and the UK during the week. Demand from European gasoline blenders rose slightly, offsetting the impact of comparatively high imports.