ARA Product Stocks Fall Back From Four-Month Highs (Week 7 – 2021)

February 18, 2021 — Independently-held inventories of oil products in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell during the seven days to yesterday, according to consultancy Insights Global.

ARA stocks have fallen over the past week, after reaching their highest since 8 October the previous week.

The stock draw was led by a fall in gasoil stocks, which dropped by more than any other surveyed product on an outright basis owing to an increase in barge flows to inland destinations.

Flows of diesel and heating oil up the river Rhine were halted earlier in the month owing to high water levels, and the backlog has been making its way upriver over the past week. Seagoing cargoes arrived in the ARA area from Russia, and departed for the UK and the US, where refinery activity has been impacted by cold weather.

The disruption across the Atlantic also affected the other surveyed refined product groups. Gasoline stocks rose despite healthy inflows of finished grade gasoline and components to the ARA area from France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The arrival of cargoes was almost entirely offset by rising outflows. Exports to the US rose slightly on the week, a week so far in February. Local gasoline consumption remained very low as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

The rise in gasoline blending activity occasioned by the rise in transatlantic exports has increased demand for naphtha from northwest European gasoline blenders. Naphtha stocks fell, despite no tankers departing the area and cargoes arriving from Norway, Russia and Sweden.

Barge flows from the ARA to petrochemical sites inland were steady on the week at a level below the average recorded so far this year.

The amount of fuel oil stored in the area ticked down on the week, and tankers departed for the Mediterranean and west Africa. Cargoes did arrive from the Caribbean, France, Germany, Poland, Russia and the UK, but mostly on smaller tankers.

Jet stocks dropped on the week, weighed down by the departure of several cargoes for the UK. A part cargo arrived from the UAE. Jet demand around the continent remains at multi-year lows with continued pandemic restrictions.

Reporter: Thomas Warner