ARA oil product stocks fall marginally

London, 2 August (Argus) — Oil products held in independent storage tanks in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell by 0.6pc this week to 5.67mn t, prompted by the departure of a 270,000t fuel oil cargo and rising naphtha consumption.

The departure of the VLCC Fida on 27 July weighed on fuel oil stocks, which fell by 10.3pc to 1.2mn t today. The 270,000t cargo is set to discharge in Ningbo-Zhoushan in China, according to vessel tracking data. A smaller cargo also left for the Mideast Gulf. Fuel oil cargoes arrived from the Black Sea, Finland, France, Poland and Russia.

Naphtha stocks also fell heavily on the week. Inventories declined by 10.6pc to 328,000t on an uptick in demand from gasoline blenders in the ARA region and continued firm demand from petrochemical end-users. Rising demand and ongoing supply tightness in the Mediterranean region have strengthened northwest European naphtha pricing, narrowing its discount to benchmark North Sea Dated to 69¢/bl on 1 August from $1.25/bl a week earlier.

Gasoline stocks rose by 3.1pc week on week to 974,000t, with rising prices in the ARA area attracting cargoes and impacting outflows. Tankers arrived from Denmark, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden. European gasoline was shipped to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the US and west Africa. But the outgoing cargoes were generally smaller than those that arrived. Fresh fixtures emerged during the week for delivery to west Africa and the US, where demand is firming.

Jet fuel stocks rose by 5pc on the week to 692,000t. The Kleon arrived into Rotterdam on 27 July with 90,000t of jet fuel from Ruwais. The Nord Dolphin arrived into Antwerp yesterday, also with 90,000t of jet fuel from Ruwais, but does not yet appear to have unloaded. Seasonally strong demand from the aviation sector brought jet fuel barge and pipeline utilisation to near maximum levels. A single cargo left the ARA area for the UK.

Gasoil stocks increased by 3.9pc to 2.49mn t. Cargoes continued to arrive from the Mideast Gulf, but high Rhine freight rates have impacted demand from the European hinterland. Demand from the agricultural and heating sectors was already lower owing to the high temperatures and lack of rain, which have affected harvests.

Reporter: Thomas Warner