As of Monday, September 24, total oil product stocks in Fujairah stood at 16.465 million barrels – down by 8.5% week on week.
Stocks of light distillates were almost unchanged week on week at 5.892 million barrels. The Middle East continues to draw a steady flow of gasoline from Europe, with additional vessel fixtures continuing to emerging. Kuwait's KPC issued a spot tender seeking the delivery of 25,000 mt of 91 RON gasoline for delivery over October 5-6 to Mina al-Ahmadi in a tender that closed yesterday. Premiums for Arab Gulf RON 95 gasoline remained steady at $3.50/b yesterday.
Stocks of middle distillates fell by 4.8% week on week to 3.982 million barrels. Stocks fell from a near 14-month high last week but remain well above the average of 2.96 million barrels so far this year. Middle Eastern middle distillates are increasingly drawn to the East. Cracks and premiums for gasoil are strengthening in the Asian market even as the Western arbitrage route is firmly closed; the East-West gasoil exchange for swaps rose to an 18-month high of minus 9 cents/b yesterday. A market participant said that gasoil volumes from the Middle East were seen coming to Singapore, attracted by the high prices here - a reflection of the strong demand pull. 'I think it's still a bullish market. AG [gasoil barrels] are coming to Singapore.'
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues fell by 16.8% week on week to 6.951 million barrels - a six month low. Bunker demand in Fujairah was reportedly softer so far this week average to slow due to the uptick in flat prices, while delivered supply was less tight compared with the first half of the month. Bunker prices are moving higher in line with crude, as Brent futures pushed above the $80/b mark this week. Fujairah has seen increased demand over the past month due to specification issues in Singapore. However, this appears to be waning; 380 CST delivered bunkers in Fujairah were pegged at $4/mt above Singapore yesterday – down from over $20/mt seen last week.
Stolt-Nielsen, Golar LNG and Höegh LNG have announced an investment of $182 million in Avenir LNG.
The investment by the consortium will be contributed as cash and equity-in-kind and will fund the construction of six small-scale LNG carriers, a small-scale storage terminal and regasification facilities.
The company was formed by Stolt in 2017 to provide LNG to markets lacking access to natural gas pipelines. With this joint investment, Stolt will consolidate all its LNG activities into Avenir, including four LNG new buildings on order at Keppel Singmarine in Nantong, China and the joint venture LNG terminal and distribution facility to be constructed in the port of Oristano, Sardinia.
Avenir plans to source and ship LNG to the terminal using small LNG carriers, and to distribute the LNG in trucks and through regasification into local network grids.
Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, CEO of Stolt-Nielsen, says: ‘The combination of Stolt-Nielsen’s logistics capabilities and our partners’ experience in LNG carriers, FSRUs and FLNGs positions Avenir as an emerging leader in small-scale LNG logistics for the power, bunkering, trucking and industrials markets.
‘With the implementation of the IMO’s 2020 emissions regulations approaching, demand for LNG as a cleaner, low-sulphur marine fuel is increasing. Each of the LNG newbuildings is designed to perform safe and efficient ship-to-ship LNG bunkering, which Avenir LNG plans to introduce at key strategic ports.’
USD Partners has entered into a four-year extension with Canovus Energy from 7% to 25%.
The renewal contains consistent take-or-pay terms with minimum monthly payments and rates that exceed those of the original terminalling services agreement with the customer.
Jim Albertson, USD’s senior vice president, Canadian business unit, says: ‘This contract extension, along with the first extension we announced earlier this year, represents a meaningful increase in our contracted capacity at the Hardisty rail terminal and is confirmation of the significant demand that exists for takeaway capacity out of Western Canada. We continue to work with the balance of our customers as well as new customers on contracting the remaining available capacity.’
A build-to-operate-transfer contract has been signed for a 10-million-barrel crude oil storage facility.
Iran’s Petroleum Engineering and Development Company signed the contract with a domestic firm. The project is part of the Iranian Petroleum Ministry’s strategic plan to develop Jask Port and deliver crude oil from Goreh, Bushehr to Jask in southern Iran.
The National Iranian Oil Company has 5,000 acres of coastal land near Jask city for the construction of special oil, gas, refining and petrochemical projects.
Thanks to a permit for the construction of the 42-inch Gorejh-Jask crude oil pipeline, part of this land has been allocated for the construction of an oil terminal for the export of crude oil and the construction of crude oil storage tanks at Jask port.
The tanks are being built with 10-million-barrels of light and heavy crude oil capacity. They will store the crude oil pumped from the pipeline. The €200 million project can be expanded to a storage capacity of more than 30-million-barrels of crude oil.
Pin Oak Holdings has sold Pin Oak Terminals to MPLX for $450 million.
As part of the transaction, Pin Oak Holdings will retain an economic interest in the facility. The terminal was the first asset developed, financed, constructed and operated by Pin Oak Holdings.
The greenfield site was acquired in 2012 with the objective of developing a full-service transportation hub on the Mississippi River. The facility has four million barrels of fully-leased storage capacity and an operational deep-water ship dock. It can expand its capacity to 10 million barrels and is permitted for construction of a second deep-water ship dock.
Pin Oak Holdings is a partnership between Dauphine Midstream and Mercuria Energy Group.
C. Mike Reed, CEO of Pin Oak Holdings, says: ‘Our team is very proud to have built a premier storage and logistics facility in Louisiana, and this transaction further validates our development strategy and ability to execute.’
‘Brian Falik, Mercuria’s chief investment officer, adds: ‘Mercuria is pleased to have been a partner in constructing and operating a world-class terminal in Louisiana. We look forward to Pin Oak actively developing additional terminals and forging strong ties with key customers and local communities.’
Pin Oak Holdings recently started construction work on its liquid bulk export terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since acquiring Pin Oak Corpus Christi in 2017, Pin Oak has successfully executed an interconnection agreement with a crude oil pipeline and secured a multi-million-barrel long-term crude oil storage contract, with the capacity to construct additional third-party storage.
Pin Oak Corpus Christi is expected to be operational during the fourth quarter of 2019.
Koole Terminals has now become 100% owner of Odfjell Terminals Rotterdam.
The facility, located in the heart of the Port of Rotterdam, will be rebranded to Koole Tankstorage Botlek (KTB). It stores both chemical and mineral oil products and operates a PID facility.
The sale will generate $100 million of cash proceeds to Odfjell.
John Kraakman, CEO of Koole Terminals, says: 'We are pleased to extend our terminal network and will work hard to transform KTB further into a state-of-the-art terminal, where safety is our priority number one. We are convinced that introducing the Koole spirit of true client dedication and entrepreneurship will help KTB to become a success.'
Kraakman adds that the acquisition fits in with the company's long-term growth strategy. 'It also gives us the opportunity to further extend our position in the circular economy by the storage of renewable products and the production of biofuels.'
Koole's overall storage capacity will increase from 2.2 million m3 to 3.8 million m3.
As of Monday, September 17, total oil product stocks in Fujairah stood at 17.998 million barrels – down by 4.8% week on week.
Stocks of light distillates fell by 11.7% week on week to 5.891 million barrels. Sentiment in the East of Suez petrol market remains firm on the back of continued demand from the Middle East, market sources said. Premiums for Arab Gulf RON 95 petrol were up to a five-week high of $3.80/b yesterday.
Petrol flows from northeast Europe to the Middle East continue, with new fixtures for petrol-laden vessels from the ARA region and the UK to the Arab Gulf reported this week. Hurricane Florence had limited disruption on US petrol supply, with the impact expected to result in lower demand, which will keep European supply focused on the East.
Stocks of middle distillates edged up by 0.1% week on week to 4.181 million barrels - a new year to date high and the highest since July 24, 2017. Gasoil market sentiment has been little changed over the past week. The pull on Middle Eastern gasoil and jet fuel remains stronger to the east than the west. The East-West Exchange of Futures for Swaps was at minus $2.91/mt for October and minus $7.70/mt for November. The EFS generally needs to widen to minus $10-$15/mt before arbitrage economics to move gasoil would be feasible.
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues fell by 1.6% week on week to 7.926 million barrels. In Fujairah, bullish crude price sentiment was said to be driving interest amongst bunker buyers on Monday. Buyers with prompt requirements are looking to fulfill their demand in anticipation that flat prices may continue to rise. 'It's manic today,' said a Fujairah-based trader on the influx in inquiries. Upcoming US sanctions are expected to reduce Iranian crude exports sharply, and could also impact Iranian fuel oil supply to Fujairah. Delivered 380 CST bunker prices in Fujairah were $18/mt above Singapore yesterday; typically prices at the two ports are close to parity.
Brooge Petroleum and Gas Investment Company (BPGIC) has started work on the second phase of its Fujairah terminal with an extra 601,600 m3 of storage capacity.
Local media reports that at a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the phase II expansion, OPEC secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo said: 'This ceremony marks a momentous occasion in the exciting storage of BGPIC, as well as the Emirate of Fujairah, which is playing an increasingly vital role in global energy trade.
'This world-class facility will help to bolster the oil and gas industry's presence in the emirate and is meeting a growing demand for storage capabilities in this dynamic and exciting market.'
The expansion will bring total storage capacity at the facility to 1.2 million m3. These tanks are mainly designed for storing crude oil as well as flexibly storing black products. This phase will also comprise building a new pump manifold with high flow rate pumps meeting FOTT VLCC requirements and additional jetty lines. It is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2019.
Vitol and Cheniere Energy have entered into an LNG sales & purchase agreement for 15 years.
Under the terms of the agreement, Vitol will buy 0.7 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Cheniere Marketing on a free on board basis beginning in 2018.
The purchase price for LNG is indexed to the monthly Henry Hub price, plus a fee.
Jack Fusco, Cheniere's president and CEO, says: 'This agreement continues Cheniere's commercial momentum and supports our growth plans, while demonstrating the value LNG buyers place on Cheniere's unique ability to offer flexible solutions tailored to the needs of LNG customers worldwide.
Russel Hardy, group CEO at Vitol, adds: 'We are delighted to be working with Cheniere, a pioneer in US liquefaction. Vitol is committed to the long-term development of the LNG market. We believe that LNG has an important role to play in the future energy mix and that its evolution will require a more flexible and tradeable LNG market.'
CVR Refining plans to sell its Cushing, Oklahoma crude oil tank terminal and is considering bids from potential purchasers.
The 1.5 million-barrel crude oil storage facility sits on a 130-acre parcel of land and includes six storage tanks, each with the capacity to hold 250,000 barrels of crude oil.
The land the facility sits on has sufficient acreage for 12 additional tanks of a similar size. The assets for sale include a truck unloading facility with a lease automatic custody transfer unit and four 400-barrel tanks.
The facility provides connectivity to other Cushing terminals and pipelines.
Targa Resources has executed agreements to sell its refined products and crude oil storage and terminalling facilities to an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners for $160 million.
The sale of the facilities in Washington and Maryland is expected to close in the fourth quarter and Targa has said it intends to use the proceeds to fund a portion of its growth capital programme.
Evercore Group is serving as Targa's exclusive financial advisor on the transaction.
Ineos Oxide has announced plans to invest €200 million into its European business, with €150 million for its Zwijndrecht site in Antwerp.
Projects include growing ethylene oxide storage and distribution, debottleneck its plants and increase the production of ethylene oxide derivatives from the European market.
A sixth alkoxylation unit in Antwerp is due to start up at the end of 2018, along with a 2,000-tonne expansion of ethylene oxide storage capacity at the site.
The company is also upgrading EO production at Lavéra, France to support the growing EO needs in Europe. This phase of investment will improve reliability, efficiency and availability of its business in Antwerp, Belgium as well as sites in Köln, Germany and Lavéra, France.
Additionally, an agreement has been reached with RWE to but the Inesco Combined Heat and Power Plant on the Ineos Zwijndrecht in Antwerp.
Graham Beesley, CEO of Ineos Oxide, says: 'We are marking Ineos' incredible global success at the place where it all began 20 years ago. To highlight our ongoing commitment to ethylene oxide, the first business to be bought by Ineos, we are announcing European investment of €200 million, with €150 million to be spent here at the Zwijndrecht site in Antwerp.'
Oneok will invest $295 million to expand its West Texas LPG pipeline system.
The system provides natural gas liquids takeaway capacity for Permian Basin producers. The expansion is supported by long-term dedicated NGL production from six third-party natural gas processing plants in the Permian Basin that are expected to produce up to 60,000 barrels per day of NGLs.
The expansion includes the construction of:
- Four new pump stations, two pump station upgrades and pipeline looping that will increase the West Texas LPG mainline capacity by 80,000 barrels per day.
- Additional infrastructure to connect West Texas LPG with Oneok's previously announced Arbuckle II Pipeline project
Terry Spencer, Oneok president and CEO, says: 'This second expansion of the West Texas LPG Pipeline system will serve continued growth in the Permian Basin and positions Oneok for additional future expansion opportunities in the Permian.'
The pipeline provides takeaway capacity to Permian Basin producers and consists of 2,600 miles of NGL pipeline in Texas and New Mexico.
The US has surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest crude oil producer earlier in 2018.
Based on preliminary estimates in the Energy Information Administration's Short-Term Energy Outlook, in February, US crude oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than 20 years.
In June and August, the US surpassed Russia in crude oil production for the first time since February 1999.
EIA expects that US crude oil production will continue to exceed Russian and Saudi Arabian crude oil production for the remaining months of 2018 and through 2019.
US crude oil production, particularly from light sweet crude oil grades, has rapidly increased since 2011, with much of the growth concentrated in the Permian region in western Texas and eastern New Mexico.
MOL Chemical Tankers and SEA-Invest are investing up to €400 million to build a chemical storage terminal in the Port of Antwerp.
The joint venture SEA-MOL, with 51% by SEA-Tank and 49% by MOL Chemical Tankers will secure 20.8 hectares of concession terrain located at the Delwaidedok in Antwerp from Antwerp Bulk Terminal. The JV will also entre into a concession agreement directly with the port for a further 24.4 hectares of land adjacent to this.
The dedicated liquid chemical storage terminal will serve as an efficient logistical hub for the storage, handling and added value activities for the petrochemical industry. This is in response to increasing requirements for chemical storage and added value activities in this sector in the region.
The terminal will be accessible for utilisation by all customers and shipping companies and access is guaranteed for sea-going vessels, barges, trucks and railcars. It will offer services such as blending, drum filling, filtration and ISO tank storage.
Through a phased investment SEA-MOL will build up to 500,000 m3 of storage for liquid chemicals, including organic, inorganic and base oils. The first phase is expected to be operational by mid-2021.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority, says: 'This investment is further confirmation of our port's ability to attract major investors. It will also boost our position as one of the largest chemical clusters in the world. This is very good news for the port, and for our economy.'
Sean Evers, managing partner, Gulf Intelligence explains how many questions surrounding IMO 2020 remain unanswered, resulting in a lack of clarity on how the market should respond
The real elephant in the room is how will the world handle the new IMO 2020 sulphur regulation? –this is going to drive the dynamics of the oil markets for the next 18 months, so being able to navigate that is going to be paramount to survival and profitability. One of many questions - how will marine gasoil and heavy fuel oil fare? – will by itself keep many analysts awake at night.
Every party, whether it be shippers, refiners, operators etc., all think the other is taking care of the problem, but the reality is there has been no agreement around the table yet. There is a lack of clarity on how to respond. The market needs certainty. We missed the wave of investing in putting scrubbers on ships.
Now it comes down to refiners, port authorities and blenders to give clarity on enforcement and the requirements in different areas. Some players are already providing alternatives to destroying high sulphur fuel oil and to changing refinery slates as soon as everything is defined clearly. The industry can react when the conditions are there, but the message must be coherent on how to, for example, extract waivers, equal standards between ports and so on.
For example, answering this question is crucial: what will be done with the surplus heavy fuel oil as more developing economies go into gas?
Responsiveness and flexibility will be key to any operator. The ability to manipulate a barrel quickly – to blend it, upgrade it, convert it – is paramount during this backwardation period. Terminal and port operators must show a huge degree of flexibility to incentivise that barrel to come onshore and enable that incremental refining margin to be achieved. They must realise that their assets will be challenged more in this environment than when the market is in a natural contango.
But perhaps the more challenging question is whether terminal operators should build clean or dirty storage tanks. The answer depends on your point of view regarding where fuel oil is going to go when the International Maritime Organization's 2020 ruling that all sulphur limits in bunker fuel must be 0.5%, instead of 3.5% comes into play. Are fuel oil inventories going to balloon due to insufficient coking capacity and will fuel oil have a role in the bunker pool?
If the IMO regulations are effective in the bunker market, then we will need an alternative to high sulphur fuel oil – and that will be gasoil. In this scenario, marine gasoil will have to rise to help meet latent 2020 demand and fuel oil will also rise due to lack of natural demand from the market. There will be an inflection point and the storage requirement will have to change as a result. This will play out over the next 12 months.
One thing is clear though: tolerance for not abiding by the IMO's ruling will be very low by the likes of the United Nations', International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and other authorities. The turnaround for IMO has become acute with talk of drones and satellite enforcement. Fines for non-compliance may not be very high, but reputational damage will be.
IMO 2020 will be discussed in detail at the Gulf Intelligence 2018 Energy Markets Forum on September 17 & 18 in Fujairah. For more information, visit the website here.
BP has signed a long-term contract with Sempra Energy subsidiary IEnova for the remaining 50% of the initial capacity of the Baja Refinados liquid fuels marine terminal in Mexico.
Under the agreement, BP will have storage capacity of 500,000 barrels of liquid fuels at the facility in Baja California to supply its growing network of service stations in northern Mexico.
In addition, BP will have the option to acquire up to 25% of the terminal's equity after commercial operations begin in the second half of 2020.
In April IEnova signed a long-term contract with Chevron Combustibles de Mexico for 50% of the facility's initial storage capacity to supply its service stations and other commercial and industrial customers.
Carlos Ruiz Sacristán, CEO and chairman of the Sempra North American Infrastructure group and chairman of IEnova, says: The Baja Refinados project is an important part of our growth strategy.
'This new terminal will increase Baja California's energy reliability and will foster competitive prices for petrol and other refined products on the West Coast of Mexico.'
The project will be located at the La Jovita Energy Hub in Ensenada and have an initial capacity of one million barrels of liquid fuels, with the potential for future expansion.
Hurricane Florence is likely to disrupt national gas production, delay pipeline construction and reduce refined product supply to the Northeast.
The category 4 hurricane, which is expected to make landfall late Thursday (September 13), will bring strong winds, heavy rains and flooding to the US East Coast.
According to S&P Global Platts, the eye of the storm is likely to pass through the North Carolina coast early Friday morning with wind speeds of more than 110 MPH. Its four to five day track extends as far south as Georgia and to near the northern tip of Virginia.
Coastal inland flooding is expected following up to 15 inches of rainfall.
Platts says that in terms of oil trade flows, small volumes of petrol blendstocks, diesel and asphalt are imported into North and South Carolina, which could be affected by the storm.
However, no offshore or onshore oil production facilities or oil refineries are currently in the path of the storm. Operators of the Colonial Pipeline and Plantation Pipeline, which the Northeast is heavily dependent on for refined products supplies, are closely monitoring the storm.
Wilmington and Charleston ports are also preparing for the storm, with condition Zulu expected later today.
The storm could also disrupt operations at the two LNG export terminals on the East Coast and Dominion Energy, which owns the Cove Point in Maryland, terminal has activated its severe weather preparation and response plan.
Enterprise Products Partners is increasing loading capacity for LPG products at its hydrocarbon terminal on the Houston Ship Channel.
Construction work is underway to increase loading capacity for primarily propane and butane by 175,000 barrels per day, or five million barrels per month.
The expansion will bring total LPG export capacity at the terminal to 720,000 barrels per day, or approximately 21 million barrels per month.
Once complete, Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal will have the capability to load as many as six very large gas carrier vessels simultaneously, while maintaining the option to switch between propane and butane loadings.
Once operation, the expansion will allow the terminal to load a single VLGC in less than 24 hours, creating greater efficiencies and cost savings for customers. The incremental capacity is expected to be available in the second half of 2019.
A.J. 'Jim' Teague, CEO of Enterprise's general partner, says: 'Enterprise is already the largest exporter of propane in the world and this expansion project will increase our ability to export LPGs from the terminal facility by another 30% with nominal capital investment.
'Domestic production of hydrocarbons continues to exceed expectations and US demand. US LPG production currently exceeds US demand by over one million barrels per day and the domestic export terminals are approaching full utilisation.
'We estimate that US LPG production could increase by up to an additional 1.5 million barrels per day by 2025. Without access to international markets, excess LPG supplies would lead to a curtailment in the US crude oil and natural gas production growth.
'Marine terminal expansions like our will be essential to balancing the market and meeting growing global demand for US hydrocarbons.'
ExxonMobil has signed a cooperation framework agreement with the Guangdong Provincial People's Government to evaluate the construction of a chemical complex in China.
The proposed complex in the Huizhou Dayawan Petrochemical Industrial Park would help meet expected demand growth for chemical products in China.
The multibillion-dollar project, which is subject to a final investment decision, would include a 1.2 million-tonnes-per-year ethylene flexible feed steam cracker, two performance polyethylene lines and two differentiated performance polypropylene lines.
The new complex would support progress toward China's national petrochemical development priorities. The framework agreement also confirms Guangdong Province's support in progressing the Huizhou LNG receiving terminal, in which ExxonMobil intends to participate, including supply of LNG.
Startup is planned for 2023.
ExxonMobil is also evaluating other chemicals manufacturing projects in Asia to help meet expected demand growth in the region. The company expects to grow chemicals manufacturing capacity in the Asia Pacific and North America by 40%, which will be achieved in part by adding 13 new facilities.