Independent ARA Product Stocks Hit Four-Month Low (Week 14 – 2021)

April 8, 2021 — Independently-held inventories of oil products in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading and storage hub have hit their lowest weekly level since early December.

Total stocks fell over the past week, according to the latest data from consultancy Insights Global. This is the lowest recorded since the week to 4 December. Stringent controls on the movement of people across Europe have reduced regional transport fuel demand, creating arbitrage opportunities for buyers elsewhere.

Inventories of gasoil, fuel oil, gasoline and naphtha all fell on the week, with the heaviest fall recorded on fuel oil stocks. A mix of Aframax and Suezmax tankers carrying fuel oil departed ARA for the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt’s Port Said for orders. Fuel oil cargoes arrived in the ARA area from Estonia, France, Germany, Poland and the UK.

Gasoline stocks fell, with cargoes departing ARA for Canada, the Mediterranean, Kenya, Puerto Rico, west Africa and the US. Some winter-grade gasoline also departed for Argentina. Barge flows out of the ARA area along the river Rhine were also high, supported by demand from eastern France and upper Rhine destinations. German refiner Miro’s, Karlsruhe refinery was taken offline for maintenance during February, bolstering demand for transport fuel barges from the ARA area in southwest Germany. That demand is likely to ease in the coming weeks as the refinery is now in the process of restarting. Gasoline tankers arrived in ARA from northern Germany, Finland, Russia, Spain, the UK and Ireland over the past week.

Gasoil stocks ticked down, weighed down by a rise in barge outflows to destinations along the river Rhine. Cold weather around Europe over the last week likely stimulated some additional demand for heating oil. Flows of diesel to west Africa rose on the week, and tankers also left for France and the UK. Gasoil cargoes arrived from Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Naphtha inventories fell by on the week, the lowest level recorded since February 2020. The stock draw was the result of a rise in demand from northwest European gasoline blenders working to produce export cargoes, as well as a rise in flows to inland Rhine destinations. Relatively small naphtha cargoes arrived from Finland, Norway and Russia.

Having reached their lowest level since early December the previous week, ARA jet fuel stocks bucked the trend, supported by the arrival of a cargo from Bahrain.

Reporter: Thomas Warner