ARA oil storage tanks are fully booked but only half full

ARA oil storage tanks are fully booked but only half full

LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) – Independently-held storage tanks for oil products in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub may be already fully committed to traders, but utilisation levels are still at around the halfway mark, Dutch consultants Insights Global said.

With demand for fuels across Europe in free fall from the lockdowns that the new coronavirus outbreak has caused around the continent, and the subsequent price crash for many fuels, traders have been on an oil storage binge.

But while they been booking a place in those tanks, the tanks are as of the latest data only at around 50-60% full.

“There is hardly any, or more likely no tank capacity available in ARA for lease right now. Everything is booked out,” managing director for Insights Global Patrick Kulsen said.

Gasoil and diesel tank utilisation, for example, stood at 48.73% on April 1, compared with nearly 80% at the start of the year.

One explanation for the low utilisation level has been increased demand from inland markets in Germany and Switzerland for stockpiling, Kulsen said.

But as demand for fuels continues to be battered by millions of people staying at home, tanks are expected to fill to the brim, analysts expect.

Consultants Rystad Energy forecast oil demand in Europe in 2020 falling by 2.3 million barrels per day to 12.7 million bpd, an 11.2% decline from 2019’s 14.3 million bpd. They expect Europe’s April road fuel demand to fall by 35% to 4.7 million bpd.

Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar; editing by David Evans