Oil product stockpiles rebound from 3-week low
Stockpiles of oil products at the UAE’s Port of Fujairah increased from a three-week low in the seven days ended May 29 led by a 7.6% jump in heavy distillates used as fuels for shipping and power generation, according to May 31 data from the Fujairah Oil Industry Zone.
Total inventories rose 1.6% on the week to 23.218 million barrels as of May 29, the FOIZ data provided exclusively to S&P Global Commodity Insights showed. Total inventories were up 12% since the end of 2022.
Heavy distillates climbed 7.6% over the week to 11.999 million barrels, a two-week high. Light distillates such as gasoline and naphtha rose 4.7% to 7.291 million barrels, a three-week high. On the downside, middle distillates such as diesel and jet fuel declined 17% to 3.928 million barrels May 29 after hitting the highest since February 2021 a week earlier, according to the data compiled by S&P Global since 2017.
Exports of oil products from Fujairah except for fuel oils averaged 507,000 b/d in May, a two-month high and up from 437,000 b/d in April, according to S&P Global Commodities at Sea shipping data.
However, the total is still well below recent months including 651,000 b/d in March and 762,000 b/d in December. Singapore was the top destination in May, at 92,000 b/d, while the US took in 9,400 b/d, the most this year, and all of it gasoline in a vessel heading for New York.
The 9,400 b/d comes from one shipment, 282,097 barrels of gasoline in transit on the Wisco Adventure, heading for New York & New Jersey at Padd 1.
Fuel oil exports from Fujairah during May averaged 150,000 b/d, down from 220,000 b/d in April, the shipping data showed.
The increase in heavy distillates inventories in the latest week is partly due to weak bunker demand, and the absence of any notable fuel oil stocking activity by the utility sector to meet power generation needs for summer, traders said.
Prices of both high sulfur and low sulfur fuel oil have declined, with the Fujairah LSFO bunker premium over the FOB Singapore 0.5% sulfur cargo falling to $5.16/mt on May 26, the lowest since October 2021, according to Platts assessments by S&P Global.
For HSFO, the Platts Fujairah-delivered 380 CST HSFO bunker premium over the FO 380 CST 3.5% FOB Arab Gulf cargo assessment declined to a six-month low of $19.96/mt May 29, the data showed. It averaged $29.70/mt over May 16-30, down from $35.23/mt in the first half of May, according to the data.
“Many buyers are sitting on the fence,” a Fujairah trader said. “All eyes will be on the OPEC+ meeting” scheduled for this weekend, another trader noted.
LSFO bunker sales for the month of May are likely on par with April, traders said, when sales were 442,392 cu m, down 13.9% on the year and 2.1% lower than in March, according to monthly port data.
Some bunker sellers have retracted offers rather than sell at low prices, traders said. HSFO demand is “steady,” a trader said.
Heavy distillates stockpiles at Fujairah are now up 19% so far in 2023, light distillates have declined 2.4% while middle distillates have climbed 27% over the same period.