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LONDON: Gasoline benchmark refining margins in northwest Europe slipped on Thursday as inventories of the fuel rose within the past week and crude prices continued their rise.

Gasoline stocks at Europe's ARA hub rose to 1.046 million tonnes from the prior week's 1.021 million tonnes as export volumes to the United States and West Africa slowed.

Nigeria's state oil company is in the final stage of signing $6 billion worth of deals to exchange more than 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil for imported gasoline and diesel, sources with direct knowledge of the process told Reuters.

Glencore is jumping into Mexico's recently opened energy sector by setting up a retail station franchise and fuel supply deal with local group Corporacion G500 SAPI, it said.

After Mexico abolished state oil firm Pemex's monopoly in the sector, oil majors Exxon Mobil and BP have said they would build new gas stations in Mexico.

A strike at Total's 117,000 bpd Feyzin refinery in the east of France has been extended until Wednesday May 24, a union official said.

The arbitrage from Europe to the US East Coast was marginally open, but tanker bookings were limited as traders were wary of slowing demand.

Around 400,000 tonnes of gasoline and blending component are expected to head from northwest Europe to China in May, a marked increase from the previous months, traders said.

US gasoline stocks fell by 413,000 barrels last week, less than expected.

A fire broke out at Total's 230,000 bpd Leuna oil refinery in Germany, according to local media reports.

Europe's oil refiners will have to carefully manage production, possibly even turning to diesel, to sustain margins amid inventories and uncertain gasoline demand growth.


Gunvor sold to Shell one barge of benchmark Eurobob gasoline in the afternoon trading window at $534 a tonne fob ARA compared to $533 a tonne fob ARA on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, 16,000 tonnes changed hands at $522-$536 a tonne fob Amsterdam-Rotterdam compared to $531-$539 during the previous session.

Gunvor sold all of these barges to Shell, Trafigura, Total, BP and Finco.

There were no trades in barges of premium unleaded gasoline but bids and offers were made at $541-$542 a tonne fob ARA. That compares with Shell's sale of four barges on Wednesday at $539-$541 a tonne.

The June swap stood at around $538.50 a tonne at the close, a touch higher than the $537.50 on Wednesday.

Brent crude futures were 36 cents a barrel higher at $52.56 a barrel by 1600 GMT.

Gasoline barge refining margins were at $11.734 a barrel, down from $12.172 a barrel.

US front-month RBOB gasoline futures were 0.55 percent higher at $1.6111 a gallon.

The RBOB crack versus US crude  stood at $18.00 a barrel, two cents lower.



No cargoes traded.


Copyright Reuters, 2017

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