Independent ARA product stocks steady (Week 12 – 2021)

March 25, 2021 — Independently-held inventories of oil products in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub edged slightly up during the week to yesterday.

Overall oil product stocks rose, according to consultancy Insights Global. Increases in gasoil, gasoline and naphtha stocks offset declines in jet fuel and fuel oil inventories.

Gasoil stocks rose after hitting their lowest level since April 2020 a week earlier, supported by the arrival of several cargoes from the Russian Baltic. Tanker outflows from the ARA area were broadly stable on the week, with cargoes departing for the UK, Ireland, the Mediterranean and west Africa.

But barge flows to inland destinations along the river Rhine fell, after reaching their highest weekly total since January during the week to 17 March. Demand around the continent is under pressure from renewed measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gasoline stocks also rose, supported by the arrival of tankers from France, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and the UK. Exports to west Africa fell on the week, while departures to the US Atlantic coast were steady. Refining across the Atlantic has largely recovered from the winter storms that affected production in February, and which drew in a glut of European gasoline cargoes. Tankers also departed ARA for Canada and the Caribbean.

Naphtha stocks rose on the week by more than any other surveyed product in percentage terms. Demand for naphtha within northwest Europe is low, owing to a lack of urgency from European gasoline blenders and increasing competition from lighter rival petrochemical feedstocks.

The volume of naphtha leaving the ARA area on barges for petrochemical sites inland fell on the week, and no seagoing tankers departed. Naphtha cargoes arrived from Russia, Norway and the UK.

Jet fuel stocks in ARA fell to two-month lows, weighed down by the departure of several tankers for the UK and the departure of at least one barge for a German airport inland. No jet fuel cargoes arrived from elsewhere.

Fuel oil stocks decreased. Tankers arrived in ARA from around northwest Europe and the Baltic Sea, and departed for west Africa, Saudi Arabia and Port Said for orders.

All refined product movements from Europe to destinations east of Suez are currently subject to change, owing to the blockage of the Suez Canal by a large container ship.

Reporter: Thomas Warner