High gasoline exports trim ARA oil product stocks

London, 30 August (Argus) — Oil products held in independent storage tanks in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell nearly 5pc this week to 5.15mn t, prompted by stock draws on all major products except jet fuel.

Gasoline stocks fell by 1.9pc to 757,000t, the lowest level since November 2016. The European market is preparing to switch to winter-specification gasoline in September, and is shedding summer-grade volumes. Outflows were notably high to North America, Latin America and west Africa.

Spot booking for tankers loading during the week to today were around twice the level recorded over the prior week. Tankers left for the Mideast Gulf, the Americas and west Africa. Tankers arrived from the Baltic region, Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden and the UK. Low water levels on the Rhine river inhibited barge traffic from inland refineries to the ARA area.

Naphtha stocks fell heavily for a second consecutive week, to a 16-week low of 251,000t. The reduction was caused by good demand from gasoline blenders and petrochemical end-users in Europe. Naphtha flows from ARA into the continent have proven more resilient to high barge freight rates than have flows of gasoline and gasoil, as most end-users are unable to significantly alter feedstock slates. Tankers arrived from Latvia, Portugal, Russia and Spain, and none were recorded leaving the area.

Gasoil stocks fell by 5.6pc to 2.44mn t, the lowest since early April. Rhine water levels rose marginally in recent days, potentially allowing an increase in product flows. German 10ppm and 50ppm diesel barges have found support over the last week. The former traded recently at 25¢/t discounts to Ice September gasoil, compared with discounts of $1/t around a week earlier. German 50ppm barges assessed differentials climbed to discounts of $7.50/t to Ice September gasoil, compared with discounts of $10.50/t a week earlier. Tankers left ARA for France, Sweden and west Africa.

Jet fuel stocks rose by 4.6pc to 677,000t. The STI Selatar and Dubai Brilliance arrived at Rotterdam at the end of last week, each carrying 90,000t of jet fuel from Yangpu, China, and Ruwais, UAE, respectively. Shell exported 30,000t of jet from Rotterdam on the Seashark, which arrived at Copenhagen today. High northwest European import volumes from east of Suez last week and this week have not been reflected in stock levels, suggesting sufficient demand to absorb incoming volumes. A slowdown in arrivals after next week, alongside the start of the refinery turnaround season, could see the market tighten.

Fuel oil inventories fell by 7.1pc to 1.03mn t. Tankers left ARA for the Mideast Gulf and Mediterranean regions during the week, and arrived from France and Russia.

Reporter: Thomas Warner