ARA product stocks stable, gasoline rises

London, 23 May (Argus) — Rising stocks of gasoline offset falling inventories of other oil products held independently in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region in the week to yesterday, according to consultancy Insights Global.

Ongoing refining issues in Germany continue to support northwest European gasoline prices, attracting more cargoes to ARA. Prompt-loading Argus Eurobob oxy barges hit six-month highs on 20 May, drawing in shipments from Italy, Norway, France, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the UK and pushing inventories up.

Tankers left ARA area for the US, Canada and west Africa, but also for Germany, which typically sends gasoline to ARA. But issues at least three German refineries, including Total’s Leuna, PCK’s Schwedt and BP’s Gelsenkirchen refineries have tightened supply in Europe’s largest gasoline market and increased demand for Rhine barges. Shutdowns at Total’s Donges and Grandpuits refineries combined with reduced run rates at BP’s Rotterdam and Total’s Antwerp refineries to further constrain northwest European gasoline supply.

Naphtha stocks in the ARA region fell to four-week lows on steady demand from gasoline blenders and low prices reducing the incentive to bring product into the storage hub. Northwest European naphtha’s discount to North Sea Dated crude reached its lowest level since November 2014 yesterday, pushed downward by petrochemical outages around the continent and ample supply in key export region Asia-Pacific. No tankers left the ARA area as a result. Tankers arrived from Portugal, Norway, Russia and Spain, largely as part of term contracts.

Gasoil inventories fell to nine-week lows owing to reduced diesel inflows from Primorsk in May, with incoming volumes coming under downward pressure from bankruptcy proceedings at New Stream’s Antipinsky refinery. The fall was partially offset by an increase in imports from the US, while tankers also arrived from Latvia and Russia. High inventories relative to gasoline have made the gasoil market more resilient to the refinery outages affecting other products.

Jet fuel inventories reached two-year highs today, also bringing the May average to two-year highs, on high import levels from east of Suez. An cargo arrived from South Korea and demand from within Europe was limited. A single tanker departed for the UK.

Northwest European jet fuel availability has tightened in the past week on regional refinery outages, tightening Asian supply, and a technical issue affecting jet fuel output at Total and state-owned Saudi Aramco’s joint-venture Satorp refinery in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. But the effect appears to be delayed, with any production decline likely to eat into already-high inventories.

Reporter: Thomas Warner

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