Independent ARA Oil Product Stocks Rise on Week 30

July 28, 2020 – Total oil products held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub have risen the past week, after falling to two-month lows in the previous week.

Stocks went up in the week to 22 July, but the overall increase masks contrasting moves across the different product groups surveyed. Fuel oil stocks rose after falling by around the same amount the previous week. No fuel oil cargoes departed ARA for either the Mideast Gulf or the key arbitrage market of Singapore, but cargoes did leave for the Mediterranean and west Africa. Fuel oil cargoes arrived in ARA from France, Norway, Russia, the UK and via ship-to-ship transfer off Skaw in Denmark.

ARA gasoil stocks fell on the 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 reached their lowest level since January 2020, and the lack of activity weighed heavily on barge freight rates. Gasoil cargoes departed the ARA area for France, the Mediterranean and the UK, and arrived from Saudi Arabia and the US.

Gasoline inventories in ARA rose on the week. Shipments to the US increased, and gasoline cargoes also departed ARA for Canada and the Mediterranean. But this was more than offset by incoming cargoes from France, Latvia, Italy and the UK, and from floating storage in the North Sea. The gasoline held in North Sea floating storage has tended to discharge in Amsterdam when making its way back to onshore storage tanks. Gasoline-component barge traffic around Amsterdam and the rest of the region was notably low during the week to yesterday, with finished-grade gasoline still well-supplied in the region.

Naphtha inventories fell. A naphtha cargo departed ARA for Brazil, where it is likely to be used as a petrochemical feedstock at Braskem’s Camacari cracker. The volume of naphtha departing the ARA area for inland Rhine destinations also rose on the week, although demand from gasoline blenders remained low. Naphtha cargoes arrived from France and Norway.

Jet fuel inventories were the only surveyed product group to hit fresh all-time highs, for the fifth consecutive week. Stocks reached went up from the previous week. Demand from the aviation sector remained very low. A single jet fuel cargo arrived in the region having loaded via ship-to-ship transfer off Southwold in eastern England, and a tanker carrying jet fuel departed ARA for the UK.

By Thomas Warner

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