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Total books first Saudi Arabia-USAC gasoline cargoes in 3 years: market

French oil giant Total has booked four cargoes of gasoline from Saudi Arabia to the US Atlantic Coast, including one set to deliver September 8, in the first such voyages in at least three years, market sources said Friday.

Total fixed the Medium Range tanker Archon at a lump sum rate of $1.35 million to load 35,000 mt (295,750 barrels) of gasoline over July 17-20 in Jubail in Saudi Arabia, according to S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow and shipping fixtures.

The vessel delivered 35,472 mt of summer-grade RBOB from Jubail at Perth Amboy in New Jersey on August 21, according to cFlow and market sources.

It was the first delivery of gasoline from Saudi Arabia to the USAC since August 2015, when Platts began tracking US Customs data. “It is rare,” a US trader said.

Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co. or SATORP has a 400,000 b/d refinery in Jubail, and is a joint venture between state-owned oil giant Aramco (62.5%) and Total (37.5%).

“Total probably took the cargo from its SATORP refinery as that quality of gasoline can be sold to the US,” said a Singapore-based trader with a Middle Eastern refiner.

Another tanker, the Torm Ismini, was fixed by Total for a Jubail-New York voyage at a lump sum rate of $1.94 million, confirmed a source close to the matter. The LR1 tanker sailed from Jubail with 60,000 mt of gasoline on August 7 and was slated to arrive at New York on September 8.

Total has also fixed the Torm Platte to carry 35,000 mt of gasoline from Jubail to the USAC, loading September 8, at a lump sum rate of $1.35 million, according to shipping fixtures.

It has also placed the Glenda Meryl on subjects to carry 35,000 mt of gasoline from Jubail to the USAC, loading September 16, at a lump sum rate of $1.35 million, shipping sources said.

USAC gasoline imports rose 58,000 b/d to 902,000 b/d in the week ended August 31, the highest in more than a year, latest US Energy Information Administration data showed. The region’s weekly imports were last higher on August 4, 2017, at 910,000 b/d.

US market sources said a slate of refinery turnarounds in Canada and the USAC were likely making the unusual shipments viable.

“I think because of turnarounds, the arbs were open a few weeks or months ago, and things got booked,” a second trader said.

Turnarounds planned for September/October include Monroe Energy’s 190,000 b/d refinery at Trainer in Pennsylvania and PBF’s 182,800 b/d facility at Delaware City and 160,000 b/d one at Paulsboro in New Jersey, US market sources said. Planned work is also currently being carried out at Irving Oil’s 300,000 b/d refinery at Saint John in New Brunswick, sources said.

USAC refinery utilization rates have averaged 2.49 percentage points lower in the third quarter of each year than in Q2 over the past five years, EIA data showed.

The upcoming turnarounds have has also caught the attention of suppliers from the US Gulf Coast. The value of space on Colonial Pipeline’s gasoline-only Line 1 flipped to positive on August 30 for the first time in four months, indicating an arbitrage from the USGC to the USAC was open.

The 1.37 million b/d Line 1 carries gasoline from Pasadena in Texas to Greensboro in North Carolina, where it connects with the multi-product Line 3 to deliver product up to Linden in New Jersey.
Source: Platts

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