ARA Oil Product Stocks Flat

August 20, 2020 – Oil products held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub this week, as light distillates draws were outweighed by builds in gasoil and fuel oil.

Gasoline stocks fell back from last week’s record high in the week to yesterday, according to consultancy Insights Global. The total is still up from the same time a year ago, but has edged down on the period because of slightly firmer export demand.

Gasoline tankers arrived from France, Italy, Spain and the UK, and departed for Canada, the Mediterranean, the US and west Africa, as well as the North Sea for orders. European gasoline producers and blenders could be in the unusual position of having to roll summer-grade stocks over to next year, unable to drain tanks before the transition to winter grades at the end of next month.

A rise in blending demand and lower imports saw naphtha inventories fall, but remain around twice the level of a year ago. Naphtha cargoes arrived in the ARA region from Russia and the UK, while nothing left the region during the period.

Jet stocks declined on the week as a rare westbound arbitrage appears to have opened, probably a result of low northwest European jet prices. Cargoes left the ARA region for the UK as well as the US, and arrived from the Mideast Gulf.

Gasoil stocks were higher, as lacklustre demand was offset by lower imports. Diesel demand up the Rhine has been capped because of full tanks, while heating oil consumption remains subdued by warm weather. Gasoil arrived in the ARA region from Canada, Russia, the UAE and US, and departed for Argentina, the Mediterranean and UK.

Fuel oil recorded by far the biggest build on the week. A shortage of high-sulphur fuel oil production has drawn in cargoes from outside the region, including an Aframax-sized vessel from Russia. Additional cargoes arrived from the Caribbean, Finland, Norway and Poland. Fuel oil left the region for the Mediterranean and west Africa.

Trading and refining firm Gunvor has kept off line its Antwerp and Europoort plants, which are normally among the largest suppliers of high-sulphur residual products in northwest Europe.

Reporter: George King Cassell