Independent ARA gasoil stocks fall to 11-month lows (Week 11 – 2021)

March 18, 2021 – Independently-held inventories of oil products in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub edged down by during the week to yesterday, driven by gasoil stocks dropping to their lowest level in 11 months.

Overall oil product stocks fell according to consultancy Insights Global. Declines in gasoil and gasoline inventories more than offset small builds in jet fuel, naphtha and fuel oil stocks.

Gasoil stocks hit their lowest level since April 2020, despite the arrival of cargoes from the Mideast Gulf and Russia. Barge flows from the ARA area to inland destinations along the river Rhine reached their highest weekly total since January, although they were still lower than typical levels for the time of year. Outflows to west Africa rose, and tankers carrying gasoil also departed for Argentina, Portugal and the UK.

Gasoline stocks also fell, drained by exports to the US and west Africa. Tankers also departed ARA for Canada and Latin America. Low demand from within northwest Europe is making ARA gasoline cargoes attractive to buyers in other regions. European gasoline was booked for export in the week to 12 March, the highest seven-day volume recorded so far this year. Gasoline cargoes arrived in ARA from Denmark, Germany, Norway and the UK.

In contrast, fuel oil inventories in ARA reached their highest level since June 2020, supported by the arrival of at least five Baltic cargoes as well as shipments from Spain and the UK. A closed arbitrage route from Europe to Singapore has contributed to the rise in fuel oil stocks, although tankers carrying fuel oil did depart ARA for the Mideast Gulf, the Mediterranean and the Suez area for orders. 

The arrival of naphtha cargoes from Finland, Norway and Russia was almost entirely offset by the departure from Rotterdam to Brazil. Naphtha supply around the continent is high, particularly in the Mediterranean and Baltic areas, and the arbitrage route to Asia-Pacific is open as a result. Trading firm Trafigura has booked the Sea Star to load from Skikda in Algeria on 25 March, with discharge options in Brazil and Asia-Pacific.

Jet fuel stocks in ARA inched higher against a backdrop of continued low demand from the aviation sector. Tankers carrying jet fuel arrived from India and the UAE, while one departed for the UK.

Reporter: Thomas Warner