ARA Oil Product Stocks Rise on Fuel Oil Stockbuilding

8 November, 2019 (Argus) – The total volume of oil products held independently in Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) rose during the week to yesterday, according to the latest data from consultancy Insights Global.

Fuel oil inventories rose on the week, amid continued stockbuilding of IMO 2020 compliant low-sulphur fuel oil ahead of upcoming changes to maritime fuel regulations. Demand for IMO-compliant fuel oil is already rising, as shipowners operating long-haul routes will need to use compliant fuels for voyages scheduled to reach their destination after 1 January. Tankers arrived in ARA from Denmark, Poland, Russia and the UK and departed for west Africa.

Naphtha inventories rose, bolstered by tankers arriving from Russia, Spain, the UK and west Africa. Tight supply in the Mediterranean caused by scheduled refinery turnarounds supported naphtha prices immediately prior to and during the reporting period, stimulating inflows. But demand from along the river Rhine prompted a week-on-week rise in barge movements inland, prompting some naphtha barge congestion in the Rotterdam area.

Gasoil inventories, the single largest group by volume, were the only product to fall on the week. Inflows remained healthy, with tankers arriving from Russia and Saudi Arabia. But rising demand from areas adjacent to ARA prompted the overall fall in inventories, with cargoes leaving via tanker and barge to France and Germany. Rising Rhine water levels weighed on barge freight rates, supporting flows into both countries. Unseasonably low temperatures may also have increased inland demand for heating oil. Tankers also departed for the UK and west Africa.

Gasoline inventories rose on the week, with healthy outflows to the US and west Africa largely offset by an increase in gasoline coming into ARA from Germany. Gasoline production is rising in Germany as refineries return from scheduled Autumn maintenance. Tankers arrived in the ARA area from Italy, Norway, Portugal and the UK and departed for Brazil, the US and west Africa.

Jet fuel stocks in ARA rose. Demand was low in line with seasonal expectations, and jet fuel traffic was minimal. Recent contango in the jet forward curve supported inflows. Tankers arrived from Saudi Arabia and South Korea, and departed for the UK and Ireland.

Reporter: Thomas Warner