ARA Oil Products Stock Levels Fall

London, 13 February (Argus) — The total volume of oil products held independently in storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) area fell by around 1pc during the week to yesterday, according to the latest data from consultancy Insights Global.

ARA stocks fell in the week to 12 February, down from a week earlier. The small fall resulted from draws on gasoil, naphtha and jet fuel inventories.

Gasoil inventories fell in the week to 12 February, partly as a result of firm barge flows up the river Rhine but also because of demand for middle distillate cargoes in western France that drew in tankers from the ARA area. Refining in the country has been impacted by industrial action in the country since December, prompting a rise in barge flows to Strasbourg and unusual tanker bookings from the ARA hub to west coast destinations. There are currently [no loading restrictions] affecting barges along the river Rhine, a factor that further supported outflows from the ARA area. Cargoes departed for the UK as well as France, and arrived from Russia, Poland and the US.

Naphtha stocks in the ARA fell, the lowest level recorded since October. No naphtha cargoes departed the hub, while cargoes entered from Poland and the UK. Naphtha demand from petrochemical end-users in the ARA area and along the Rhine was steady at the firm levels recorded in recent week, and low naphtha supply in the key Mediterranean supply source has limited volumes available to northwest European buyers.

Jet kerosine inventories dropped on the week to their lowest since March 2015 amid tight supply around the continent. Refinery outages in the Mediterranean and low imports have combined to reduce the volume of available supply in northwest Europe. No tankers arrived in the ARA area and at least one tanker departed for the UK.

Gasoline stocks rose, amid persistently low exports to key arbitrage region the US. High inventories in the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts made the transatlantic arbitrage route from northwest Europe unviable during the opening five weeks of 2020, but a single tanker did depart the ARA area for the US during the week to yesterday and the route appears viable on paper. A tanker also departed for Argentina, probably carrying summer-grade gasoline, as well as to the Mideast Gulf, the Caribbean and west Africa. Tankers arrived from Norway, Spain and the UK.

Fuel oil inventories were broadly unchanged on the week. The volume arriving from Russian fell on the week, while tankers arrived from the Baltics and the UK. Tankers departed for west Africa but not for Singapore.

Reporter: Thomas Warner

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