Independent ARA Oil Product Stocks Hit Seven-Week Lows

02 July, 2020 – Total oil products held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell on the week, dropping for a third consecutive week after reaching their highest since at least 2003 less than a month earlier, according to consultancy Insights Global.

Stocks fell back to levels last recorded during the week to 14 May, having peaked during the week to 11 June. Jet fuel inventories were the only surveyed product group to hit fresh all-time highs. Demand from the aviation sector remained extremely low while a gradual rise in European refinery runs buoyed supply levels. At least one cargo arrived from the UAE, and a tanker left the ARA area for the UK.

ARA gasoil stocks fell on the week, falling for the second consecutive week having reached ten-month highs the week before. Tankers arrived from the US, and tankers that had previously arrived from Singapore and Saudi Arabia discharged after extended periods of waiting offshore. Tankers departed for France, the Mediterranean, the UK and west Africa. Outflows to west Africa were the largest single factor causing the overall stock draw. Interest in gasoil barges from inland destinations and around the ARA appeared lower on the week, with inventories along the river Rhine also near record highs.

Gasoline inventories fell on the week. Gasoline blending activity in the ARA area fell on the week, dragging down the number of finished-grade and component barge movements. Outflows remained at elevated levels to further draw on local stock levels, supported by a rise in exports to the US. Tankers also departed for the Mideast Gulf, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and west Africa, and arrived from France, Italy, Russia, Sweden and the UK.

Naphtha inventories fell on the week. No tankers departed the area, and tankers arrived from Russia and the UK. Local demand for the product from gasoline blenders fell in line with the fall in overall blending activity. But interest in stored volumes from petrochemical end-users was firm, supported by European refinery runs still being significantly lower on the year. Low supply has brought naphtha refining margins to their highest level since December 2017.

Fuel oil stocks rose in the week to yesterday. Tankers departed for the Mediterranean and west Africa. Fuel oil cargoes arrived in the ARA area from Finland, France, Poland and Russia. No fresh fixtures emerged on the arbitrage route to Singapore.

Reporter: Thomas Warner