ARA oil products stocks fall to eight-week lows

October 30, 2020 – Oil products held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell over the past week to reach their lowest since 3 September, according to data from consultancy Insights Global.

Overall oil products stocks fell in the week to 28 October, with lower stocks of gasoline, diesel and fuel oil. Jet fuel stocks rose to fresh all, amid chronically low demand from the commercial aviation sector. The Airports Council International (ACI) suggested this week that almost 200 European airports face insolvency in the coming months because of the slump in passenger demand, with passenger traffic down in mid-October compared with the same period last year. Jet fuel cargoes arrived in the ARA area from Singapore and the UAE, both having travelled via the Cape of Good Hope in order to take greater advantage of the contango in Ice gasoil forward prices. Naphtha inventories also rose, but by less.

Gasoline inventories fell, weighed down by low inflows into the area. Tankers departed for the Caribbean, east Africa, the Mediterranean, Mexico and the US, and arrived from the UK and France. Delays in the blending component barge market around Amsterdam re-emerged for the first time since the beginning of October.

Gasoil inventories fell, and as with gasoline, inflows were low. A diesel cargo discharged in ARA, having served as floating storage on the North Sea, and tankers departed for Germany, France and the UK. Inventories inland remained high, limiting fresh demand for middle distillates from the northwest European hinterland. But heating oil demand is likely to intensify in the coming weeks.

Fuel oil stocks fell, having reached three-month highs a week earlier. Two Aframax tankers departed for the Mideast Gulf and at least one tanker left for the Mediterranean. Cargoes arrived from the Caribbean for the second consecutive week, following a poor cruise ship season which reduced bunker fuel demand.

Reporter: Thomas Warner