ARA Product Stocks at Four-Month Highs (Week 6 – 2021)

February 11, 2021 — Independently-held inventories of oil products in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub rose for a second consecutive week during the seven days to yesterday, according to consultancy Insights Global.

ARA stocks were at their highest since 8 October following a week on week gain, and higher than in the same week of 2020.

Stocks remain high elsewhere on the continent this year — products inventories in the EU-15 plus Norway rose on the month in January, higher than January 2020 levels, according to Euroilstock data.
With crude intake still critically low — refinery utilisation rates in the EU-15 plus Norway in January, the data indicate — rising stocks are probably a function of poor demand, as countries across Europe remain in lockdown.

The rise in ARA stocks was driven by a sharp gain in fuel oil inventories, which rose in the week to 10 February. Fuel oil was shipped into ARA storage from a number of countries in northwest Europe and the Baltics this week. Stocks could be rising as exporters accrue supply in tank for onward long-haul shipments in larger quantities.
Fuel oil left ARA storage for the Mediterranean and Singapore, while the VLCC Silverstone was spotted in the ARA region this week, where it could be loading fuel oil for a long-haul voyage.

The sharp rise in fuel oil stocks offset a sharp drop in naphtha, on the week, the lowest this year. The Jane was spotted to have left ARA storage on 9 February with naphtha,
which it will deliver to Brazil. According to Vortexa data that is the first such shipment this year. A rise in naphtha demand for gasoline blending could have contributed to the drop in stocks, as well as restrictions along the Rhine slowing trade flows.

Stocks of other products were more stable this week. Jet kerosine stocks rose, over double the level a year ago. Jet demand remains extremely weak as commercial aviation is severely restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gasoline stocks rose on the week, as inflows from a handful of countries in northern Europe and Spain offset exports to the Americas and west Africa.
Gasoline stocks are just above year-ago levels now, the lowest year on year rise of the products surveyed by Insights Global. A rally in the US gasoline market has prompted firmer Transatlantic exports of European gasoline, which could have contributed to the narrowing differential between 2020 and 2021 levels.

And gasoil stocks were little changed on the week, as cargoes flowed in from Russia, and out to France, the UK and the US. Restrictions along the Rhine river have been hampering middle distillates traffic in recent weeks.

Reporter: Robert Harvey