Gasoline demand impacts ARA oil product stocks

London, 23 August (Argus) — Oil products held in independent storage tanks in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell by 1.3pc this week to 5.41mn t, prompted by a sharp fall in gasoline and naphtha inventories.

Gasoline stocks fell by 14.3pc on the week to 772,000t, the lowest level recorded since October 2017. Tankers left the ARA area for Argentina, Canada, Puerto Rico, the US and west Africa. High gasoline demand from inland Germany, resulting from unplanned refinery outages, drew in volumes from the ARA area and deepened the stock draw. Tankers arrived from Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK.

Naphtha stocks also fell heavily, dropping by 17pc on the week to 307,000t. The reduction in inventories was caused by steady demand from key outlets and a lack of incoming tankers. No cargoes arrived from the Mediterranean, with the sole arriving tanker coming from Denmark. None were recorded leaving the area. Demand from inland petrochemical end-users recovered, with falling temperatures enabling steam cracker operators to return to running their machinery at full capacity.

Gasoil stocks rose by 3.3pc to 2.59mn t, the highest level since the start of April, as low Rhine water levels continued to constrain product movement in the region. Typically, weekly gasoil barge inflows to Germany total around 160,000t but they amounted to less than 90,000t during the week today according to PJK International’s Rhine Flow Service. The influx of middle distillates into Europe from both transatlantic and east of Suez refiners has also been firm, with market participants pegging total arrivals into Europe at some 3.5mn-4mn t in August. The Yasa Hawk is currently on route to Amsterdam, laden with a 40,000t diesel cargo, according to Argus tracking. The tanker departed Texas City on the US Gulf coast on 15 August.

Jet fuel stocks fell by 1.1pc to 647,000t. At least 180,000t of jet fuel arrived into Rotterdam today on vessels from China and the UAE, although neither vessel had offloaded at the time of writing. Imports into northwest Europe from east of Suez and the US are set to be high for the rest of August. But peak summer buying interest is fading as high trade activity throughout the month has mostly filled August demand. Consequently, stocks are expected to rise. Shell has provisionally booked at least three tankers to take ARA jet fuel to Scandinavia at the end of the month.

Fuel oil inventories increased by 4.5pc to 1.1mn t, amid low outflows. A single suezmax left the ARA area for Singapore during the week to today, and tankers arrived in the area from France and Russia.

Reporter: Thomas Warner