Oilmarket Blog

Quick insight ARA Tank Terminal capacity expansion

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 25 september 2018 14:07:00

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The ARA region is an important trading hub in Northwest Europe due to its infrastructure and fundamentals to serve the physical market for liquid trade. Location is key and ARA’s location is exceptional due to the Rhine river that connects with the Benelux countries, Switzerland, France and Germany. Also the ARA region provides refining facilities, tank storage and is seen as oil pricing center.

In the first image you can view the evolution of the tank terminal capacity in the greater ARA region. Important capacity additions in the past two years were done by Botlek Tank Terminals, Koole Tank Storage Minerals and NoordNatie Antwerp. At the same time we can observe various expansion activities in the ARA region, which will increase the current tank storage capacity further.

Secondly in the image below you can see the capacity under construction. Various players will also be adding capacity to their current storage capacity. The total amount of storage capacity under construction will be about 2.3% of current installed capacity and will be accessible in the coming years. Besides expansions , new terminals are expected to be built as well in various ports, focusing on liquid bulk like mineral oil products & petrochemicals.


We do expect some changes that might alter the ARA fuel oil market and petrochemical market and may therefor influence the tank storage market in those segments. Are you interested to get more information ? Join us on the 3rd of October 2018 at 16:00 CET for a free webinar session with one of our senior analysts. For more information you can also contact us at the headquarters in the Netherlands at 00 31 (0) 850 66 25 22.

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The contents of this article from PJK International has been written with the greatest possible care. However, PJK International cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. The content of PJK International blog publications therefore are not legally binding. PJK International accepts no liability which might arise from the content of its blog.


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ARA independent fuel oil stocks fall sharply

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 24 september 2018 10:03:25

London, 20 September (Argus) — Oil products stored independently within the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) hub declined by nearly 2pc over the past week because of a large drop in fuel oil inventories.

Fuel oil stocks shed 143,000t — or 11.2pc — during the past week as imports of Russian fuel oil from the Baltic Sea continued to fall. The decline came despite challenging arbitrage economics to Singapore. No vessels bound for Asia-Pacific have loaded fuel oil from Rotterdam during the past week. The VLCC Ridgebury Artois, booked to ship 270,000t of fuel oil to Singapore earlier this month, has arrived in Rotterdam. Some fuel oil was exported to the Mediterranean to supply the local bunkering market and to the Middle East during the past week.

Jet fuel stocks also declined, but were down just 1pc week on week. The European market is generally well supplied, while demand has weakened following the conclusion of the peak summer flying season. But most of the product imported from east of Suez this week was discharged into ports in the UK. One vessel, the Polar Bright, chartered by BP, arrived into Rotterdam on 16 September with 90,000t of jet fuel from Ruwais, but has yet to offload this material.

Gasoil stocks rose by around 1pc during the past week. Inland shipments to the German market, which is affected by supply shortages, remained depressed because of low water levels on the Rhine. Transatlantic shipments of diesel have not fallen as much as expected by market participants in September from the prior month because of high US production and stocks. The Asian diesel market is tight, which is likely to draw diesel from the Mideast Gulf, reducing the amount of material available to be exported to Europe from that region.

Gasoline inventories also rose by around 1pc week on week. US demand for European gasoline has dropped following the conclusion of the summer driving season, but buying interest in west Africa and the Middle East remains firm, largely offsetting the impact of lower transatlantic shipments. The ARA region imported gasoline from Denmark, France, the Mediterranean and the UK in the past week.

Likewise, naphtha stocks rose marginally during the period, adding just 2,000t. Demand from gasoline blenders and the petrochemicals sector has softened during the past two weeks, keeping more product in storage. Some naphtha was shipped to Denmark, likely to use as a feedstock to produce gasoline.

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Gepubliceerd Jacob on 14 september 2018 9:14:11


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A brief observation of the Northwest European markets and its place in the global naphtha supply chain.

Tank terminals play a vital role in current global markets. Their primary function is to physically balance supply and demand along the supply chain and to facilitate opportunities. The ARA region is the main trading hub within Northwest Europe due to its outstanding infrastructure, its network with many active market players and its place within the overall supply chain. We will take a closer look at the naphtha markets in this region and its importance for the international oil markets. Naphtha is retrieved from various sources like condensate gas, petroleum distillates or the distillation of tar and is mostly used in the gasoline blending and petrochemical markets.
Within ARA, with the Port of Amsterdam being a gasoline blending hub, demand for naphtha is fairly high and it makes North West Europe net-importer for the product.Other regions like the Middle East , the Mediterranean and India are net-exporters which provide global trade flows of the product. Competition for import to North West Europe comes from petrochemical markets in East Asia, which are also big net-importers as seen in the top graph to the right. The imbalance between the supply and demand in the different regions provides trading opportunities in various ways.
The ARA naphtha import is headed by Russia, having the biggest volume compared to the other countries with UK, Germany, Algeria, France and Spain as well in the top six sources list, as seen in the graph. This shows the reliance on near as well as less local markets of the various market participants. A shrinking imbalance is negative for the ARA tank storage sector. However, considering the market size and the option to switch to the gasoline segment the impact seems small.
PJK International provides direct insight in the market by not only its annual Tank Terminal reports, but also with weekly reports on stock levels of various products (including naphtha) stored at independent tank terminals in the ARA region, a weekly report on the trade flows up and down the Rhine river and daily barge freight rates for transport within ARA and up the Rhine. This way, we provide tools for better and quicker decision making processes.


Would you like more information ?

For more information contact us at PJK International HQ in the Netherlands.

+31 (0)850 662500






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Insights from our analysts

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 13 september 2018 7:35:47

This weeks insight from Lars van Wageningen, our Operations Manager at PJK International, also quoted by Bill Lehane (Bloomberg) considers the market is getting tight. The inland stockpiles haven’t been replenished over summer because Rhine barges haven’t been able to operate at full capacity. Furthermore even as the water levels start to recover, the Rhine barge rates remain high; also barge traffic has risen on the main river. In addition the Bayernoil Vohburg refinery outage is also adding to tightness, with suppliers in that region looking further north for supply than usual.


Lars van Wageningen


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A quick Insight in the ARA petrochemical tank storage market.

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 10 september 2018 14:34:26

In Northwest Europe the oil and the petrochemical sectors are leading sectors that employ thousands of people directly and indirectly within the region. The main European production cluster for liquid bulk products is made up of the Benelux countries, Switzerland and the German and French regions that are connected to the Rhine river.

The Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp region or ARA is the main trade hub that connects Europe to global markets. The petrochemical sector is responsible for producing various materials such as plastics, paints, solvents, fibres and raw materials for pharmaceutical and cosmetics sector. Taking a closer look at the petrochemical side of the cluster and the different market participants in it, many of the companies produce goods in high-volume or ‘bulk’ quantities.

Companies in this cluster have been getting more exposed to severe competitive pressure. This has been Leading to the closure of for example La Mede refinery, Reichstett refinery, Petit Couronne refinery and the Wilhemshafen refinery. Also the decision made by Gunvor to not go ahead with their investment in upgrading the GPR site is a sign of high uncertainty amongst players about what the future will bring. Despite this at the same time there are others planning expansion like Ineos, one of the leading chemical companies with sales of around 60 billion dollars and their production network spans 171 sites and 24 countries. Ineos announced that their plan will have 2.7 billion capital investment in Northern Europe.

One of the things to watch in the future and the question for all is; where will the new Ineos plant be built. According to news articles both Rotterdam and Antwerp are being considered. As Ineos already has production sites in Antwerp we give Antwerp a slightly bigger chance, but you never know what the outcome will be. Either way it is likely to boost trade in ARA, as Ethane and propane imports will increase and most likely chemicals and intermediates trade will also increase.

For more information and details about the ARA petrochemical tank storage markets please contact us to get a complete report.


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“GRIPPING THOUGHTS”: Bertrand Chupin on The Challenges Ahead

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 10 september 2018 14:24:56

PJK International is an independent market research powerhouse that counts on a methodology that balances a data driven and quantitative approach with the assessment of an extensive network within the industry.

With “GRIPPING THOUGHTS” PJK International aims to share some ideas and insights from its network – partners, clients and friends – to help shedding light on the challenges that the industry faces, in the near and long future.

So join us, read and get inspired by our interview with BERTRAND CHUPIN, VP of the Loading Systems business unit of TechnipFMC, a global leader in subsea, onshore/offshore and surface projects, with about 37,000 employees.

Q:Bertrand, how would you describe the main market challenges at the present time?

The market has drastically and irreversibly changed over the last 5 years. Terminal owners are expecting vendors to significantly reduce equipment CAPEX. In addition, with fewer investments moving forward during this period of time. Competition has been and remains highly aggressive, pushing vendors to find innovative solutions to reduce costs. Also, once the investment decision is made, clients want their projects faster demanding shorter lead times. Finally, buyers are looking for first-class service, fast availability of spare parts, fast mobilization of site engineers and lower OPEX.

Q:And how do you see it evolving in a period of 5 to 10 years? What are the trends and challenges ahead of us?

Although the market and our clients significantly reduced investments during the last five years, we have observed signs of recovery in the last few months. Deep cost reductions have enabled projects that were otherwise unprofitable without compromising safety and quality standards.

It is also likely that automation and unmanned operations will be further developed in the future to address OPEX challenges. In addition, operational and maintenance are currently being studied and implemented.

Finally, a few new market segments are coming along, specifically those linked to the usage diversification of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). New regulations imposing significant reductions of CO2 and NOx emissions for maritime transportation are opening new opportunities to LNG by replacing conventional HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil) and maritime diesel. New infrastructure and value chains are being developed to allow this conversion providing new applications to loading systems manufacturers.

Q:At last, how is TechnipFMC getting prepared to these challenges that the future post?

TechnipFMC has reduced costs through improved execution and standardization. Always thinking about the future, TechnipFMC’s Loading Systems division maintained the same level of investment in R&D over the last few years to provide the industry with breakthrough technologies such as a full electric loading arm that replaces the conventional hydraulically-powered one and significantly reduces OPEX to provide our clients with greener offloading solutions.

Services is also an area of focus: reducing inspection and maintenance cost by using drones is, for instance, one of the new services offered by TechnipFMC. A new strategy on spare parts management has also been implemented to provide our clients with critical spare parts in a shorter delivery time.

Finally, the recent merger opens doors to the flexible hose technology through Coflexip™. The adoption of flexible solutions is expanding within offloading applications and make TechnipFMC the sole loading systems manufacturer with the ability to provide both rigid articulated pipe and flexible hose solutions.

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ARA oil product stocks rise by 10pc on the week

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 7 september 2018 14:47:36

London, 6 September (Argus) — Oil products held in independent storage tanks in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub rose by 10.1pc this week to 5.67mn t, with stock builds for all recorded products.

Fuel oil inventories recorded the sharpest rise, increasing by 22.8pc to 1.26mn t. Tankers arrived in the ARA area from Latvia, Russia and the US and departed for Denmark and the UK. Departures of fuel oil-laden VLCCs for Singapore customarily offers the single biggest outlet for stored fuel oil volumes, but no such loadings took place in the week to today and none are scheduled. Fuel oil stocks in Singapore recently hit a six-week high, impacting demand for European volumes.

Gasoline stocks rose by 14.9pc on the week to 870,000t, rebounding after reaching a 21-month low the previous week. Production of winter-grade gasoline continued apace, bolstering demand for storage tank space. Low Rhine water levels continued to affect the market, with gasoline demand from inland buyers pulling increasing volumes up river. Inland gasoline production has suffered in recent weeks from refinery outages and high blending component prices resulting from high barge freight rates. Interest in European gasoline was firm from the US. Tankers arrived in the area from France, Italy, Portugal, Russia and the UK. Tankers departed the region for Argentina, Latin America, the US and west Africa.

Naphtha stocks rose by 5.2pc to 264,000t, after falling heavily during the two prior weeks. Tankers arrived from Algeria, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the UK. None were recorded leaving the area, amid firm demand from gasoline blenders as well as petrochemical end users.

Independent ARA stocks of gasoil rose by 4.1pc on the week to 2.54mn t. Diesel remained the key demand driver for middle distillates, with heating oil buyers continuing to await falls in barge freight rates. Tankers arrived from Russia, the US, India and Saudi Arabia.

Jet fuel stocks rose by 8.4pc to 734,000t, a 42-week high. Inflows have remained at high levels despite the end of the peak demand season. But the rise in inventories was also bolstered by delays in the unloading of vessels arriving during the prior week. Tankers arrived from the Mideast Gulf, India and the Mediterranean and one left for the UK.

Reporter: Thomas Warner

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High gasoline exports trim ARA oil product stocks

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 31 augustus 2018 10:09:28

London, 30 August (Argus) — Oil products held in independent storage tanks in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell nearly 5pc this week to 5.15mn t, prompted by stock draws on all major products except jet fuel.

Gasoline stocks fell by 1.9pc to 757,000t, the lowest level since November 2016. The European market is preparing to switch to winter-specification gasoline in September, and is shedding summer-grade volumes. Outflows were notably high to North America, Latin America and west Africa.

Spot booking for tankers loading during the week to today were around twice the level recorded over the prior week. Tankers left for the Mideast Gulf, the Americas and west Africa. Tankers arrived from the Baltic region, Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden and the UK. Low water levels on the Rhine river inhibited barge traffic from inland refineries to the ARA area.

Naphtha stocks fell heavily for a second consecutive week, to a 16-week low of 251,000t. The reduction was caused by good demand from gasoline blenders and petrochemical end-users in Europe. Naphtha flows from ARA into the continent have proven more resilient to high barge freight rates than have flows of gasoline and gasoil, as most end-users are unable to significantly alter feedstock slates. Tankers arrived from Latvia, Portugal, Russia and Spain, and none were recorded leaving the area.

Gasoil stocks fell by 5.6pc to 2.44mn t, the lowest since early April. Rhine water levels rose marginally in recent days, potentially allowing an increase in product flows. German 10ppm and 50ppm diesel barges have found support over the last week. The former traded recently at 25¢/t discounts to Ice September gasoil, compared with discounts of $1/t around a week earlier. German 50ppm barges assessed differentials climbed to discounts of $7.50/t to Ice September gasoil, compared with discounts of $10.50/t a week earlier. Tankers left ARA for France, Sweden and west Africa.

Jet fuel stocks rose by 4.6pc to 677,000t. The STI Selatar and Dubai Brilliance arrived at Rotterdam at the end of last week, each carrying 90,000t of jet fuel from Yangpu, China, and Ruwais, UAE, respectively. Shell exported 30,000t of jet from Rotterdam on the Seashark, which arrived at Copenhagen today. High northwest European import volumes from east of Suez last week and this week have not been reflected in stock levels, suggesting sufficient demand to absorb incoming volumes. A slowdown in arrivals after next week, alongside the start of the refinery turnaround season, could see the market tighten.

Fuel oil inventories fell by 7.1pc to 1.03mn t. Tankers left ARA for the Mideast Gulf and Mediterranean regions during the week, and arrived from France and Russia.

Reporter: Thomas Warner

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Gasoline demand impacts ARA oil product stocks

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 24 augustus 2018 9:21:37

London, 23 August (Argus) — Oil products held in independent storage tanks in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell by 1.3pc this week to 5.41mn t, prompted by a sharp fall in gasoline and naphtha inventories.

Gasoline stocks fell by 14.3pc on the week to 772,000t, the lowest level recorded since October 2017. Tankers left the ARA area for Argentina, Canada, Puerto Rico, the US and west Africa. High gasoline demand from inland Germany, resulting from unplanned refinery outages, drew in volumes from the ARA area and deepened the stock draw. Tankers arrived from Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK.

Naphtha stocks also fell heavily, dropping by 17pc on the week to 307,000t. The reduction in inventories was caused by steady demand from key outlets and a lack of incoming tankers. No cargoes arrived from the Mediterranean, with the sole arriving tanker coming from Denmark. None were recorded leaving the area. Demand from inland petrochemical end-users recovered, with falling temperatures enabling steam cracker operators to return to running their machinery at full capacity.

Gasoil stocks rose by 3.3pc to 2.59mn t, the highest level since the start of April, as low Rhine water levels continued to constrain product movement in the region. Typically, weekly gasoil barge inflows to Germany total around 160,000t but they amounted to less than 90,000t during the week today according to PJK International’s Rhine Flow Service. The influx of middle distillates into Europe from both transatlantic and east of Suez refiners has also been firm, with market participants pegging total arrivals into Europe at some 3.5mn-4mn t in August. The Yasa Hawk is currently on route to Amsterdam, laden with a 40,000t diesel cargo, according to Argus tracking. The tanker departed Texas City on the US Gulf coast on 15 August.

Jet fuel stocks fell by 1.1pc to 647,000t. At least 180,000t of jet fuel arrived into Rotterdam today on vessels from China and the UAE, although neither vessel had offloaded at the time of writing. Imports into northwest Europe from east of Suez and the US are set to be high for the rest of August. But peak summer buying interest is fading as high trade activity throughout the month has mostly filled August demand. Consequently, stocks are expected to rise. Shell has provisionally booked at least three tankers to take ARA jet fuel to Scandinavia at the end of the month.

Fuel oil inventories increased by 4.5pc to 1.1mn t, amid low outflows. A single suezmax left the ARA area for Singapore during the week to today, and tankers arrived in the area from France and Russia.

Reporter: Thomas Warner

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Importance of Tank Terminals in Tanker Shipping

Gepubliceerd Jacob on 22 augustus 2018 14:47:03

Businesses and traders of bulk liquid cargoes and gasses select ports because of their location, maritime access, hinterland connectivity, value-added services, economies of scale, and the availability of independent tank terminals.

Tanker owners prefer to sail to ports with high throughput volumes, fast turnarounds and low demurrage risks. The availability of tankers is a critical factor in the success of ports.

Ship Owners also look at reducing costs through vessel design, slow steaming between locations and reducing time spent in ports by optimizing loading and discharging.

The ship-shore interface involves tankers loading and discharging at regularly visited shore terminals, but with spot activity, vessels also need to call at many terminals they are not familiar with. This comes together with an increased risk for tanker owners. Similarly, each tank terminal now handles more tankers of different types and sizes than ever before.

The above indicates that the relation and coordination between vessel owners and tank terminals could be of great importance and a clear game changer. Better cooperation will not only help optimize operations and reduce cost but also support better risk management.

The importance of tank terminals in what-if scenarios

A tanker owner may need to discharge a cargo due to an emergency or because missing a loading or discharge window. In the chemical trade, for example, there is an agreed laycan or in other words an agreed loading time range at the end of which comes the time when the charterers are entitled to exercise their option and cancel the charter party for non-arrival of the owners’ vessel.

Being stuck in a port or being cancelled by the charterer has an impact on not just the current voyage, but all future voyages and fleet planning. This can have a huge negative impact on the owners’ financial performance.

So, in case of an emergency, delay or cancellation, good relations and communications between tanker owners and tank terminals may help mitigate risks. Finding a tank terminal to discharge cargoes during an accident or hazard may also be required from time to time.

New Opportunities

Tank terminal projects are very good market indicators since projects are often announced early and set the stage for future product flows. Bulk liquid terminals play an important role when trading centers are shifting and new hubs are being developed.

Demand and production swings are taking place all the time resulting in shifts between long and short haul shipments. Short haul shipments tend to have smaller volumes and therefore require smaller vessels. Such changes have an impact on loading and discharge operations at tank terminals, including jetty capabilities and tank sizes.

As Owners are looking for economies of scale, ships are however getting bigger and ship owners need to make sure that tank terminals can handle such larger vessels and large quantities of cargo. A good example is the Bow Pioneer, the largest IMO II chemical tanker with a deadweight of 75000, measuring 288 meters long and 37 meters wide. The use of larger tankers in any market segment may result in the development of more hub terminals to receive larger vessels and support regional distribution and transshipment activity.

Tank terminals may also be an interesting investment opportunity for ship owners to diversify and create a more balanced business portfolio. While freight rate and volume levels may be low during an economic downturn, inventories at terminals may be high during such times. Some storage contracts are negotiated on a take or pay basis which means the client pays even if they don’t use the tank. This provides a level of guaranteed income. And if not invest, why not develop a strategic tank terminal tanker owner alliance for a specific project.

We hope this article is providing some food for thought, so why not read your free Infographic now to learn more about the benefits of TankTerminals.com’s database platform for tanker owners and ship brokers. Download here.

For any questions contact us at: greta.talmaci@tankterminals.com

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