Freezing Med Attracts Unusual Diesel Cargoes
Tankers diverted in mid-Atlantic to Med; in rare arbitrage, cargoes from Europe into Med.
At least one tanker carrying diesel en route to New York has been diverted in the mid-Atlantic to the Mediterranean, where freezing weather from North Africa to the Balkans has boosted demand for heating oil and sharply lifted prices.
At the same time, two 30,000-tonne tankers - the Torm Gyda and Nord Bell - have been booked by Glencore to go from northwest Europe to the Mediterranean, according to shipping data and traders. The vessels were carrying either diesel or higher-sulphur-content gasoil, traders said.
Maersk Progress, chartered by BP to carry a 110,000-tonne cargo of diesel from the Reliance refinery in Jamnagar in west India to New York, was diverted on Tuesday to the Mediterranean, according to Reuters ship tracking and traders.
A second tanker, the 120,000-tonne SKS Dee chartered by Trafigura, was also expected to turn in the mid-Atlantic towards Europe, traders said.
The unusual movements come after prices in the Mediterranean rose sharply in recent days due to a lack of available supplies from regional refineries and imports, coupled with cold weather.
Severe weather in the Black Sea has also led to delays in tanker loadings, further tightening supplies in the Mediterranean.
Prices of gasoil and diesel, used in many countries for heating, have risen in the Mediterranean to their highest in months. They surpassed rates in northern Europe, opening a rare arbitrage. <DL-CIFD-MED>
The cold spell has also pushed Italy's wholesale day-ahead gas prices up 50 percent in recent days, prompting suppliers to step up gas withdrawals from storage.
Reporting by Ron Bousso