Asian gasoline crack to Brent crude hits 13-month high on strong demand

Singapore (Platts)--13 Feb 2017 1228 am EST/528 GMT

Strong demand pushed the physical benchmark FOB Singapore 92 RON gasoline crack against front-month ICE Brent crude futures to a 13-month high of $13.14/b at the Asian close last Friday, S&P Global Platts data showed.

The crack was last higher on January 27, 2016, at $13.32/b, Platts data showed.

Demand is being driven mainly by Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Co.'s, or Takreer's, requirements for March-April. Production from its 840,000 b/d Ruwais refinery in the UAE had been reduced to 50% by the closure of its west refinery due to a fire January 11 at its 127,000 b/d RFCC, crimping gasoline production.

To plug the shortfall, ADNOC is seeking 240,000 mt of 95 RON gasoline in nine 27,000 mt cargoes over March-April delivery in a tender valid until February 19.

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Demand within Asia was also buoyant, with firm buying from Indonesia and Vietnam. Indonesia's March requirements were heard to be around 10 million-11 million barrels, more than February's 8 million-9 million barrels of imports. Recently concluded tenders in Asia also reflected an uptrend in cash differentials.

Taiwan's CPC sold 30,000 mt of 92 RON gasoline for March 6-22 loading from Kaohsiung at a premium of 30-40 cents/b to the Mean of Platts Singapore 92 RON gasoline assessments on an FOB basis.

It had previously sold two cargoes of 92 RON gasoline for February loading at premiums of 25-30 cents/b to the MOPS 92 RON gasoline assessments, FOB.

A source close to the company said there were more bids for the latest tender than for the previous month.

Supply is also expected to be lower over March-April due to maintenance season.

Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp. will partially shut its 540,000 b/d Mailiao refinery for maintenance from mid-March to end April, while refineries in Indonesia have a heavy turnaround schedule over March-April, market sources said.

The rally in NYMEX March RBOB futures further boosted the market. In the US, Energy Information Administration data showed a surprise draw in US gasoline stocks, which fell 869,000 barrels to 256.2 million barrels in the week ended February 3 after five straight weeks of builds.

--Teo Su Ling,
--Edited by Wendy Wells,

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