ARA Oil Product Stocks Reach Fresh Five-Month Lows

London, 10 October (Argus) — Falls in gasoline and fuel oil stocks contributed most to a reduction in the total volume of oil products held independently in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) storage and refining hub this week.

Overall inventories fell to their lowest since 9 May. Fuel oil inventories fell by more than any other surveyed product, dropping on the week to reach eight-week lows. Tankers left for the Mideast Gulf and west Africa, and arrived from Latvia, Poland and Russia. Flows of high sulphur fuel oil to Singapore have dwindled with demand from Asia falling in anticipation of upcoming changes to maritime fuel regulations on 1 January.

Gasoline stocks fell to their lowest since the week to 31 May. Most of the volume which departed ARA during the week is likely to discharge in west Africa, and tankers also left for Latin America, the US and the Mideast Gulf, where demand is being supported by the disruption to the Saudi Arabian refining sector following the attacks on 14 September. Firm export demand continued to prompt high levels of gasoline production in ARA, supporting demand for barges. The level of congestion in the ARA area fell on the week but remained a factor, particularly around Amsterdam. Rising water levels within the next few days are likely to allow standard barges to begin passing through the Kaub bottleneck on the river Rhine in Germany fully loaded for the first time in more than three weeks.

Gasoil inventories fell. Tankers arrived from the Baltic states, India, Russia and the US and departed for France, Latin America and the UK. The backwardated market structure provided little incentive for market participants to store gasoil in tank. An anticipated rise in gasoil exports from the Russian port of Primorsk is likely to increase the volume arriving in the ARA in the coming weeks.

Jet fuel stocks in ARA rose, broadly in line with seasonal expectations, and a single tanker departed for the UK.

Naphtha inventories rose to reach eight-week highs, with firm demand for gasoline blending components drawing in tankers from Algeria, France, Spain and the UK. Demand from the petrochemical sector remained low, with at least two large complexes yet to return from scheduled maintenance turnarounds.

Reporter: Thomas Warner

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