Independent ARA Oil Product Stocks Fall

August 04, 2020 – Total oil products held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub have fallen in the past week, reaching their lowest since the week to 30 April.

Low demand brought ARA product stocks to a record high during the week to 11 June, but inventory levels have fallen consistently since as demand recovers and products markets return to backwardation. Stocks of all surveyed products fell during the week to yesterday, with the exception of gasoline.

Gasoline inventories in ARA rose on the week. Shipments to the US increased, and gasoline cargoes also departed for Canada and west Africa. But this was more than offset by incoming cargoes from Finland, Italy, Sweden and the UK. An Aframax tanker that had been serving as gasoline floating storage since May also discharged in the area, adding to inventories. Gasoline blending component barge traffic around Amsterdam and the rest of the region was steady at a low level, with blending activity minimal with ample supplies.

Fuel oil stocks fell, reaching their lowest since 12 March. Fuel oil cargoes departed ARA for Saudi Arabia, west Africa and the Mediterranean, while cargoes arrived from France, Russia, the UK and Cuba. The Mareta carried a high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) cargo from the area elsewhere in northwest Europe, in response to high supply in the ARA and relative tightness in northwest European HSFO supply.

ARA gasoil stocks fell on that week. High inventories at destinations along the Rhine continued to inhibit barge bookings from the ARA area to terminals inland. Barge flows from ARA to upper Rhine destinations held steady at around their lowest level since January. Gasoil cargoes departed ARA for the Mediterranean and the UK, and arrived from Russia. Inflows from Russia will remain at a low level during August.

Jet fuel inventories fell, after reaching fresh all-time highs in the previous five consecutive weeks. Demand from the aviation sector remained low, but appeared higher on the week and outflows to the UK rose. No tankers arrived carrying cargoes from elsewhere.

Naphtha inventories fell. The volume of naphtha departing the ARA area for inland Rhine destinations ticked down on the week, amid competition from rival petrochemical feedstocks. Naphtha cargoes arrived from the Mediterranean, Russia and the UK.

By Thomas Warner

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