ARA Oil Products Stocks Highest Since September

10 January, 2020 (Argus) – The total volume of oil products held independently in storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) area rose on the week to reach 15-week highs, according to the latest data from consultancy Insights Global.

By far the most significant rise was recorded in fuel oil inventories, which increased on the week. Firm demand in Europe for sulphur fuel oil left little available for export, and very little departed the ARA area. Some fuel oil did depart for the Mediterranean, where supply of VLSFO is tight and demand high. And a tanker departed for the US, possibly carrying high sulphur fuel oil for use in coking units on the Gulf Coast.

Gasoil stocks rose to reach their highest since 31 October. Cargoes arrived from India, Russia, the UAE and the US. Gasoil barge traffic around the ARA area and along the river Rhine rose on the week but from a low base, following a seasonal slowdown over the festive period. Relatively warm temperatures continued to weigh on seasonal demand for heating oil, making barge traffic marginally lower year on year despite the week-on-week rise. Tankers departed for Denmark, the UK and France, where strike action is affecting diesel production.

Naphtha inventories also rose, increasing to reach their highest since March 2019. Tankers arrived from Finland, Norway, Portugal, Russia and the UK, while none departed. Rising prices of rival petrochemical feedstock propane prompted a week-on-week increase in naphtha flows up the river Rhine to petrochemical sites in Germany.

Gasoline inventories fell, owing to a lack of incoming cargoes. Barge activity rose on the week, again from a low base following a seasonal slowdown. High US inventories meant that no tankers departed for either the US Atlantic or Gulf coasts, but tankers did depart for Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, Saudi Arabia and west Africa. Outflows to west Africa, a key export destination, fell on the week. Tankers arrived from the Baltics, Sweden and the UK.

Jet kerosine inventories fell on the week to reach their lowest since 10 January 2019. The drop in stocks was prompted by firm demand in northwest Europe, in line with seasonal expectations. Tankers departed for the UK, while none arrived.

Reporter: Thomas Warner

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