ARA independent product stocks fall

London, 9 August (Argus) — Independent oil product stocks held in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell slightly during the past week because of a substantial drop in fuel oil inventories.

The fuel oil export route to Singapore — where stocks recently dropped to their lowest in more than nine years — remains generally workable. One Singapore-bound VLCC, the Sea Lion, loaded fuel oil from Rotterdam during the past week. Fuel oil was also exported to west Africa to supply the local bunkering market, contributing to the decline in stock levels.

Naphtha stocks also fell during the past week because of comparatively firm demand from gasoline blenders. The ARA region imported naphtha from Algeria, Finland, France, Spain, Sweden and the UK, while no material was exported during the week.

Jet fuel stocks fell slightly because of imports during the past week into northwest Europe offloaded into ports outside of the ARA region, including Le Havre and the UK. Buying interest remained strong during the peak demand season but levels on the Rhine continued to be low, limiting volumes that can be shipped to consumers inland.

Diesel stocks have also been bolstered by the low water levels on the Rhine that are keeping product in storage tanks. As a result, inventories climbed by nearly 4pc from the prior week despite a decline in shipments from the Russian port of Primorsk, which is the main source of 10ppm diesel in the FSU. Exports from the Baltic port are set to drop by 6pc month on month to 1.3mn t in August.

And gasoline stocks increased by almost 5pc during the past week. The transatlantic export route remains generally workable, but rising stocks are likely to weigh on the economics of shipping gasoline to the US. The latest EIA report showed that gasoline stocks in the US climbed by nearly 3mn bl as refinery runs hit four-week highs and implied demand declined by over 500,000 b/d to a four-week low. Export activity has been firm so far this month. Tanker bookings emerging in the past week with transatlantic discharge options totalled 800,000t during the week to yesterday.