March 27, 2015
The European jet market was steady Friday, with spot interest remaining thin.
There were no cargo indications and only one barge bid during the Platts Market On Close assessment process. The spread to front-month ICE low sulfur gasoil contract rose $0.25/mt for both CIF NWE cargoes and FOB Rotterdam barges.
With Europe heard to be well supplied and storage levels elevated, prompt buying interest has not materialized on a large scale ahead of Easter, typically a busy travel period.
Meanwhile, offers have also been limited as sellers were heard to be awaiting support from regional maintenance before releasing barrels onto the spot market.
A BNP Paribas inventory report showed a build of 380,000 barrels, or 10.9%, in ARA jet fuel storage in the week to March 26, with regional refiners thought to be stocking ahead of turnarounds in April.
Two of the area's largest facilities, BP Rotterdam and Shell Pernis, will undergo partial maintenance in April.
"If the refineries are going offline, they will probably stock up beforehand," said one source.
Additionally, a contango on the physical market was heard to incentivize storage. The arbitrage from the Middle East was heard to be closed on paper Thursday, with LR1 freight rates on the Persian Gulf-UK Continent route rising 24% over the past month to $36.15/mt Friday.
Freight on the route was last assessed higher on March 27, 2013.
Despite the higher LR1 levels, no disruption of flows from the region has been observed, with fixed volumes for April arrival heard to be higher than March.
In shipping, BP was said to have the SKS Darent for loading 90,000 mt of jet fuel on April 9 and the Neveska Lady for loading 40,000 mt from Yanbu on March 28, shipping data showed.
The 50,100 mt Mr Canopus was tracked to have arrived on Thursday at the Isle of Grain terminal on the Thames from Mina Al-Ahmadi in Kuwait.
Mina Al-Ahmadi is the site of a KNPC refinery with a crude distillation capacity of around 466,000 b/d. The refinery also has a dedicated 20,000 b/d kerosene desulfurization unit and a 40,000 b/d hydrocracker.
China sees fresh buying
China Aviation Oil is heard seeking more than 1 million barrels of jet A-1 fuel for loading and delivery over several dates in May -- steady from the volume it last sought for April. The tender closes on March 30, with validity till March 31.
Elsewhere, Kenya's Oil Industry Pipeline Co-ordination Secretariat was said to have bought 122,144 mt of jet fuel for delivery in April-May. The first 61,072-mt cargo for delivery over April 23-25 was bought from Vivo Energy at a premium of $25.23/mt to April average of Mean of Platts Arab Gulf jet fuel/kerosene assessments, CFR.
The second lot, comprising 61,072 mt for May 3-5 delivery, was awarded at a premium of $25.86/mt to April average of MOPAG jet fuel/kerosene assessments, CFR. Mogas was heard to be the seller.
Overall, lackluster requirements in Asia following the post-seasonal winter high and a closed arbitrage from Asia and the Middle East to the West of Suez are weighing on market sentiment.
Looking ahead, several sources said that the upcoming refinery turnaround season during April-July could potentially tighten up supplies, limiting the downside for the jet fuel/kerosene market.
Meanwhile on the supply side, Bahrain Petroleum Co. has offered 40,000 mt of jet fuel for loading from Sitra over April 13-16. Bids into the tender, which closed March 26, will remain valid until March 27.
In other news, Singapore's commercial stockpiles middle distillates, including gasoil, jet fuel and kerosene were reported at 10.44 million barrels in the week ended March 25, according to data released Thursday by International Enterprises Singapore.
That compared with 11.66 million barrels reported a week earlier. Meanwhile, Vietnamese oil retailers cut their kerosene and fuel oil prices on Thursday to reflect recent movements in international oil prices, state-run Bao Cong Thuong reported Thursday.