ARA Oil Products Stock Levels Rise

6 February, 2020 (Argus) — The total volume of oil products held independently in storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) area rose during the week to yesterday, according to the latest data from consultancy Insights Global.

Overall ARA stocks reached a small rise the week to 6 February. The small rise was driven by gains in gasoline and fuel oil inventories, which both recorded double-digit increases.

Fuel oil inventories rose during the week. Inflows into ARA came from France, Poland, Russia and the UK. The cargo from Poland was IMO-compliant low sulphur fuel oil, and the cargoes from Russia arrived in Aframax tankers. Russia typically exports high-sulphur fuel oil, demand for which has been curbed by the IMO 2020 global marine fuel sulphur cap. Fuel oil tankers departed ARA for the Mediterranean area this week, which could result in onward shipments east of Suez.

Gasoline stocks rose, amid low exports. The arbitrage route to the US remained closed throughout the reporting period, owing to high inventories across the Atlantic. Tankers did depart for the Caribbean and west Africa, and to the Mideast Gulf. Some mild barge congestion was heard around the Amsterdam area, causing some loading and discharge delays. Tankers arrived from France, Spain and Sweden.

Stocks of all other surveyed products fell. Gasoil inventories fell in the week to 6 February, largely as a result of a week on week rise in barge flows up the river Rhine. The increase in the volume heading inland was prompted by the lifting of loading restrictions that had been in place because of low water levels. The incoming volume was low amid weak demand in northwest Europe, where unseasonally high temperatures continue to weigh on heating oil demand. Tankers arrived from the Baltics and Russia, and departed for France and the Mediterranean.

Naphtha stocks in the ARA fell, according to Insights Global. No naphtha cargoes departed the trading hub, while cargoes entered from Norway and Russia. Naphtha demand has strengthened from the petrochemical sector and barge flows to inland destinations were higher on the week. And independently-held inventories of jet kerosine fell on the week. No jet cargoes were delivered to the area, and tankers departed for the UK.

Reporter: Thomas Warner