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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Energy Aspects News

US Oil Exports to Asia May Slide Further

© Anatoly Menzhiliy / Adobe Stock

Rising shipping rates have increased the costs of shipping oil from the United States to Asia and may further the restrict the flow of U.S. oil to the region later this year, multiple trade and shipping sources said on Thursday.Freight rates for tankers that carry crude oil have soared globally, buoyed by peak seasonal demand, weather disruptions and higher bunker fuel costs, the sources said.The cost of chartering a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) capable of carrying 2 million barrels of crude from the U.S.

US Exports to China to Rise amid Trade Talks, but Volumes are Capped

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China has pledged to buy more U.S. goods to reduce America's huge trade deficit and help avoid exacerbating a trade war between the world's two biggest economies, with energy and commodities high on Washington's list of products for sale.The U.S. trade war with China is "on hold" after the governments agreed to drop tariff threats and work on a wider agreement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday. Washington is especially keen to sell more of the United States'…

Diesel Tankers Turn to New York after Stocks Drop

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Tankers carrying diesel from Asia and Europe, including a giant 200,000 tonne cargo, are sailing towards New York where fuel supplies have dropped to a three-year low in recent weeks.The very large crude carrier (VLCC) Maran Aphrodite changed its destination on Friday to New York from its previous port of Rotterdam, according to Reuters ship tracking data.The vessel, which traders said was chartered by Total, left Singapore earlier this month.Several tankers have also been booked to go from Europe and the Baltics to the port of New York, a relatively rare route.

Fleet Storing Gasoline off Europe's Coast Growing

© Dale Stagg / Adobe Stock

Gasoline stored in ships off Europe's coast has ballooned to more than 400,000 tonnes, putting pressure on the continent's traders to compete for buyers once summer demand starts. Several vessels have joined the three initially booked to store fuel off Europe's ports in mid-March, and brokers said even barges have held cargoes of gasoline for three to four weeks as the volumes traded in Europe hit record levels last month. The tankers Torm Tevere, Ridgebury John B and STI Clapham are now parked off Europe's Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub…

Oil Backlog Off China Limits Prospects for Fresh Atlantic Basin Shipments

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A backlog of crude cargoes has built up off the coast of China, limiting prospects for new shipments to the world's largest oil importer, trading and shipping sources said. The amount of oil floating in tankers off China has risen partly due to tax changes and an anti-pollution drive that have depressed oil demand from small, independent refiners, known as "teapots". Maintenance has curtailed run rates at others. This has combined with aggressive selling, particularly from West Africa, that pushed vessels to the region even when early warning signs showed crude demand could falter.

Russia Ramps up Fuel Exports in Fight for European Market

© Mikhail Perfilov / Adobe Stock

Russia plans to sharply increase fuel exports and carve out a larger share of the European market following an extensive $55 billion modernisation of its refineries, companies' plans and analysts' reports show. Russia embarked on a modernisation of its biggest refineries in 2011 following a fuel shortage crisis. It also changed its tax system to favour production of cleaner and higher-quality fuel. The modernisation, which has not been completed yet, led to a surge in output of light products and exports, which has hurt European refineries' margins.

Record West African Oil Liftings, Most Sailing East

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Jose Gill)

Total WAF loadings for Asia hit record. Shipments of West African oil to China are set to surge to a record in January, boosting overall fixtures heading east to their highest in at least 14 years, a Reuters survey of shipping fixtures and traders showed on Wednesday. China's loadings are expected to jump by more than 20 percent from December to more than 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, the survey showed. The figure is the highest barrel-per-day total to sail for China since September, and is some 37 percent above the same month last year.

Columbia Shipmanagement Receives DNV GL Certification

(from left to right): Certificate handover in Hamburg with Torsten Schramm (DNV GL), Carsten Sommerhage, Axel Schulz (both CSM), Dirk Lange and Olaf Quas (both DNV GL). Photo: DNV GL

DNV GL has confirmed that Columbia Shipmanagement complies with the highest standards in energy and safety management. Torsten Schramm, President at DNV GL – Maritime, recently presented the ISO certification for the standards ISO 50001:2011 and OHSAS 18001:2007 to Carsten Sommerhage, Director of Columbia Shipmanagement (Deutschland) GmbH, at the shipping company’s offices in Hamburg. “These certifications highlight our efforts to perform a systematic energy management as well as maintaining the highest levels of health and safety through our company.

Full Tanks & Tankers: A Stubborn Oil Glut Despite OPEC Cuts

© Andrei Pashkov / Adobe Stock

After the first OPEC oil production cut in eight years took effect in January, oil traders from Houston to Singapore started emptying millions of barrels of crude from storage tanks. Investors hailed the drawdowns as the beginning of the end of a two-year supply glut - raising hopes for steadily rising per-barrel prices. It hasn't worked out that way. Now, many of those same storage tanks are filling back up or draining more slowly than investors and oil firms had expected, according…

Sovcomflot Launches LNG-Powered Ships

Photo: PAO Sovcomflot

Russia’s biggest tanker operator will launch four new vessels in 2018 that will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), Bloomberg reported. Sovcomflot’s Aframax ships, capable of carrying 600,000 barrels of oil through the Baltic Sea to the port of Rotterdam, will be the first tankers run on LNG. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other energy companies that have invested more than $700 billion in LNG projects over the past decade are going to be benefitted by this project. While ships won’t transform the market,  Energy Aspects Ltd.

Weak Gasoline Prices Prompts US-bound Tanker to Alter Course

A tanker of gasoline en route to New York Harbor from Europe has been diverted to a Caribbean storage hub because a narrow window of opportunity for shipping profitably to the U.S. East Coast appears to have shut, traders said. At least 16 tankers carrying some 600,000 tonnes of gasoline blending components were booked early in April to send fuel from Europe to the East Coast. Since, a Long-Range 2 (LR2) vessel AMOREA, floating offshore carrying summer-grade RBOB gasoline, known as F2-grade, set sail to New York. An LR2 going to New York was uncommon to begin with, but the recent closing of the arb, or the window, caused the vessel to be diverted to the BORCO storage hub in the Caribbean, according to Reuters vessel tracking data and three sources with knowledge of the matter.

Rare Gasoline Exports Underway from Bloated East Coast Stocks

File Image: AdobeStock

Traders prep rare East Coast gasoline exports; cargoes already sailing with exported distillates. Traders are preparing to export cargoes of coveted gasoline from the U.S. East Coast after months of heavy importing and local production swamped the region. At least two cargoes of gasoline are lined up to sail to West Africa, according to three market sources, with others eyeing their own shipments. The United States consumed more than 9 million barrels per day of gasoline in 2016, accounting for nearly 10 percent of global oil demand.

Asia Tankers-VLCC Rates to Hold Steady

File image of a typical VLCC underway (Credit: EuroNav)

25 MidEast cargoes still to be fixed; VLCC rates fall to 4-month low. Freight rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs), which hit a four-month low on Thursday, are likely to hold around current levels or nudge higher as charterers fix the final charters in February's loading programme from the Middle East. Brokers however said an oversupply of tonnage from a raft of new vessel deliveries and older tonnage coming free after being used for floating storage are expected to cap any gains in rates.

CNOOC Diverted Two LNG Cargoes from Tianjin After Pipeline Fire

China's state-owned energy company CNOOC diverted two cargoes of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) after a pipeline fire in northern China's Tianjin, though imports were normal as of Monday, traders with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday. Reuters reported on Dec. 28 that a natural gas pipeline in Tianjin was closed after it ruptured and caught fire. Two sources with knowledge of CNOOC's gas operations in Tianjin said CNOOC diverted the LNG cargoes after the accident on the pipeline, which is connected to a domestic gas consumer. "Imports are now back to normal," said one source, adding that the cargoes were sold back to the supplier under force majeure terms. The source did not give further details. A CNOOC press official was not immediately able to comment.

U.S. Refiners Cash in on Mexico's Record Imports

File image: a laden oil tanker underway (Crdit Adobestock 12895221

U.S. Gulf Coast refiners are cashing in on rising fuel demand from Mexico, shipping record volumes to a southern neighbor that has failed to expand its refining network to supply a fast-growing economy. The fuel trade could top a million barrels per day (bpd) at times in 2017 as Mexico becomes increasingly dependent on the United States for strategic energy supplies and providing business worth more than $15 billion a year to refiners such as Valero, Marathon Petroleum and Citgo Petroleum.

China Gobbles up Angolan Oil in Rush to Year End

China's loadings of West African crude are set to hit their highest in more than two years in November as the nation's refineries race to stock up and offset falling domestic oil production, according to a Reuters survey of shipping fixtures and traders. China's November West African crude oil loadings, the bulk of it Angolan, are on track to reach 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), the highest since September 2014, the survey showed on Monday. December bookings are already expected to be similarly strong. "Domestic production declines and stockpiling continue to generate demand for crude," said Michal Meidan, Asia analyst with Energy Aspects.

Dark Cloud of Offshore Storage Looms

Glencore books the STI Grace tanker to store fuel at sea-traders. This has not been the summer many oil traders had expected after last year's bumper profits. Banking on more of the same, the world's refineries have churned out more diesel, gasoline and jet fuel than eager drivers and holiday makers have been able to consume even over the summer travel season. Fuel inventories in the United States, Europe and Asia are brimming despite the height of peak summer driving. European traders are now moving to store diesel on tankers at sea as on shore storage tests its limits yet again. At least one vessel, the 90,000 tonne STI Grace has dropped anchor off the chic holiday town of Southwold on England's east coast in what traders said was floating storage. The vessel was chartered by Glencore.

Brazil Exports Diesel to Europe

Two tankers ship diesel in rarely used route. Brazil has joined a list of countries exporting diesel to Europe, reversing a traditional route and underscoring a weakening of the largest South American economy. At least two 37,000 tonne cargoes of diesel, on the tankers Torm Gunhild and MT Alexandros, have sailed in recent weeks from Brazil to Europe, according to Reuters ship tracking data and traders. Torm Gunhild is heading to Venice and is chartered by Italian oil company Eni while MT Alexandros has been chartered by trading house Glencore and is set to discharge in the Canary Islands. Traders linked the rare arbitrage to Brazil's economy, which has struggled with a deepening recession in recent years.

China Teapot Refiners Create Qingdao Tanker Jam

Tankers at Qingdao port face up to 30-day wait. At least 15 large tankers wait to offload -shiptracking data. A surge in oil buying by China's newest crude importers has created delays of up to a month for vessels to offload cargoes at Qingdao port, imposing costly fees and complicating efforts to sell to the world's hottest new buyers. China's independent refiners, freed of government constraints after securing permission to import just last year, have gorged on plentiful low-cost crude in 2016. This has created delays for tankers that have quadrupled to between 20 to 30 days at Qingdao port in Shandong province, the key import hub for the plants, known as teapots, according to port agents and ship-tracking data.

US Gulf Coast Diesel Exports Down Sharply

Diesel fuel exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast declined sharply since December as increasing output from refiners in South American markets and brimming stocks in Europe squeezed key outlets, Thomson Reuters data show. As a result, distillate inventories in the region have risen 27 percent since October to more than 50.8 million barrels, the highest since September 2011. That level, 90 percent of the region's 26-year high of 55.9 million barrels reached in February 2011, has pressured cash ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) differentials in the U.S. Gulf Coast market in recent weeks. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said last week that distillate exports made up an average of 1.19 million barrels per day of the 4.3 million bpd of U.S. refined product exports last year.

Saudi's Rule Out Production Cuts, Oil Drops 4%

Oil prices fell 4 percent on Tuesday after Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi ruled out any production cuts, restating the kingdom's rationale for maintaining output was that demand would pick up excess crude that has crushed prices over the past 20 months. Big oil exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia have proposed to freeze output at January levels, which were near record highs, only if other producers also do the same. More meetings on the potential freezes will be held in March, al-Naimi told the IHS CERAweek conference in Houston, adding that he expects most of the countries that count to freeze crude production levels. Analysts remain skeptical that the cuts will be effective in rebalancing the market.

LNG Could Follow Crude Oil's Lead: Russell

In contrast to the carnage in crude oil markets, liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices in Asia have enjoyed relative stability for the past three months, but it's unlikely the calm will persist much longer. Spot Asian LNG prices <LNG-AS> ended last week at $5.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), about 28 percent below the recent peak of $7.80 reached on Nov. 22. In contrast, Brent crude oil has dropped 46 percent from its recent peak in early October to trade currently around $28.55 a barrel. The relative outperformance of spot LNG holds over the longer term as well, with the price of the super-chilled fuel having dropped 68 percent since its all-time high of $20.50 per mmBtu in February 2014.

Crude Tanker Backlog in US Gulf Eases on Robust Imports

A backlog of tankers off the shores of the U.S. Gulf Coast that swelled in the final quarter of 2015 is easing, with the volume of crude waiting to discharge declining by more than half in just a month's time. There currently are 27 vessels offshore in the U.S. Gulf Coast waiting to discharge an estimated 15 million barrels of crude, compared to 36 million barrels at the start of December, ClipperData said on Tuesday. There are typically 10 million to 12 million barrels of oil waiting to discharge at any one time, Clipper said. The decline comes as December crude imports are on track to hit their highest weekly average since September 2013, so far averaging roughly 7.9 million barrels per day, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

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