Europe Distillates-Gasoil pressured by stock build
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Gasoil barge differentials slipped in northwest Europe on Thursday as inventories rose at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp pricing hub. Gasoil stocks rose 7 percent week on week after barge traffic along Europe's inland waterways was disrupted by a combination of German lock-workers' strikes and low water levels. The strikes began in July and the impact is growing, with queues now starting to build up. "Thirty ships or more are stuck near Heidelberg/Mannheim," one Germany-based middle distillates broker said. In addition, Rhine water levels have fallen to around 142 cm at Kaub , which is considered low. Levels are expected to continue dropping over the next few days. Patrick Kulsen, a Dutch oil consultant, said that small barges of about 1,200 tonnes can only load about 74 percent of capacity, while large barges of about 2,500 tonnes are restricted to some 56 percent. On the cargo side, traders are trying to assess whether Europe's diesel imports from India in September will offset lower volumes from the United States as a result of ongoing problems at Motiva's Port Arthur refinery. "It depends on what Reliance will load over the next few days and which of those cargoes will really go to Europe after Suez and don't end up in Israel or Turkey," a trader said. A fire has knocked out more than half the output at the Port Arthur refinery and its biggest crude distillation unit (CDU) is still struggling with a vibration problem that has cut rates. Europe will be heavily reliant on diesel imports through its upcoming maintenance season. Last year prolonged outages at overseas refineries coincided with Europe's autumn turnarounds, triggering a spike in diesel premiums. Tamoil has confirmed it will start a six-week maintenance programme at its 78,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Swiss refinery Collombey on Sept. 7. In the Mediterranean, traders are eyeing the situation in Libya, where a force majeure remains in place for the oil ports of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina. A lack of supply from Ras Lanuf would attract a lot of gasoil into the Mediterranean market," one trader said. Even if Ras Lanuf refinery is still producing, it will be running on stored crude stocks, as output from Libya's oilfields has dwindled. "The structural issues remain in place for now," a trader said. Meanwhile, Kuwait's Mina Abdullah refinery has shut an 80,000 bpd CDU and a 40,000 bpd kerosene hydrotreater following a brief fire. GASOIL * One 0.1 percent gasoil barge traded at a discount of $2.75 a tonne fob ARA to September ICE gasoil futures, slipping from Wednesday's $2-$2.25 a tonne discounts. Total sold the barge to Phillips 66. * Four 50 ppm gasoil barges traded at premiums to September ICE gasoil futures of $19 a tonne fob ARA, unchanged from Wednesday. * Morgan Stanley bought all the barges, from AST, AIC and Vitol. * The ICE September gasoil futures was down $2 at $936.75 a tonne at 1546 GMT. * The ICE gasoil crack was down slightly at $16.16 a barrel from $16.30 a barrel around the same time on Wednesday. * The contango for September/October widened out to 75 cents from 25 cents on Wednesday. DIESEL * Nine diesel barges traded at premiums to September ICE gasoil futures of $22-$23 a tonne fob ARA, unchanged from Wednesday's levels. * BP and Vitol were on the sell side, whilst Morgan Stanley, Shell and Glencore were buyers. JET FUEL * No jet fuel barges traded as there were no offers. A bid came at a premium to September ICE gasoil futures of $66 a tonne fob ARA, up slightly from Wednesday's trades at $65 a tonne premiums. * Two cargoes traded, with Vitol selling both to BP. FUEL OIL * Barges of low sulphur fuel oil with 1 percent sulphur content traded at $615 a tonne fob ARA. This was up from bids at $609 a tonne on Wednesday. * High sulphur fuel oil barges with 3.5 percent sulphur content traded at $593.25-$596 a tonne fob ARA, in line with Wednesday's trades.