Oil Product Stocks Fall 12% Amid Plunge In Light Distillates

Credits: energepic.com/ Pexels
  • Total stocks drop to lowest level since Feb. 13.
  • Heavy residues fall 13.4% to the lowest level since July 4.
  • Middle distillates climbed 18.5% to the highest level since Jan. 16.

Stockpiles of oil products at the UAE’s Port of Fujairah fell 12.4% in the week ended April 3, led by a plunge in light distillates, according to Fujairah Oil Industry Zone data published April 5. Total inventories fell to 19.197 million barrels, the lowest level since Feb. 13, the FOIZ data provided exclusively to S&P Global Commodity Insights showed.

Plunge in light distillates

Stockpiles of light distillates, such as gasoline and naphtha, plummeted 21.3% to 6.075 million barrels, the lowest level since July 4, 2022, the data showed.

Stocks of heavy residues, such as fuel oil and marine fuels, also fell 13.4% to 10.048 million barrels, the lowest level since Feb. 13.

Demand for high sulfur fuel oil

A recent pickup in demand for high sulfur fuel oil bunker at the port of Fujairah, along with export flows towards the Far East, drew down inventories over the past week, according to local traders.

“Lately, the number of HSFO inquiries has been rising, especially from tankers,” a Fujairah-based bunker supplier said April 5. 

“Movements of these big scrubber-fitted tankers along this region got busier, and increases HSFO demand with huge quantities of requirements, with more calling at the Persian Gulf.”

Fewer offers for prompt HSFO refueling dates were seen in recent days too, with lead times averaging around seven to nine days away, despite also the availability for next-day delivery from a minority of sellers, according to local bunker suppliers.

The Platts Fujairah-delivered 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil bunker premium over the FO 380 CST 3.5% FOB Arab Gulf cargo assessments averaged $35.47/mt April 3-4, down from $38.23/mt during the previous week ended March 31, according to S&P Global data.

Middle distillate stocks soar

A recent shipment comprising 925,942 barrels, or 145,818 mt, of HSFO was loaded from Fujairah port on March 28, bound for discharge at the world’s largest bunker hub of Singapore on April 10, according to data by Kpler.

In the low sulfur fuel oil space however, bunker premiums have been depressed and rangebound, with more-than-ample inventories and lackluster demand in the downstream market, Fujairah-based traders said.

“At times, some demand is seen but not that great,” a second bunker supplier said. “The weather has been a spoilsport too, with pretty intense and gusty winds.”

LSFO sales in late March had also been tepid, he said.

Platts Fujairah-delivered marine fuel 0.5%S bunker premiums over the benchmark FOB Singapore Marine Fuel 0.5%S cargo assessments ticked lower to average $10.34/mt April 3-4, from $10.60/mt over March 27-31, S&P Global data also showed.

Stocks of middle distillates at Fujairah, such as diesel, rose 18.5% to 3.074 million barrels, the highest level since Jan. 16.

Total oil product stockpiles at Fujairah are now down 7% since the end of 2022. Heavy distillates are down 0.6% to date, light distillates have plunged 18.6%, while middle distillates have shrunk by 0.5% over the same period.

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Source: SP Global


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