LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Gasoline barge cracks in northwest
Europe firmed on Thursday but remained close to zero amid rising
stocks in northwest Europe and few opportunities for
Gasoline stocks independently held at the
Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp storage hub rose 6.6 percent to
641,000 tonnes last week, while naphtha stocks gained 18.5
percent to 77,000 tonnes, data from Dutch oil consultant Pieter
Kulsen showed on Thursday.
Inventory data for December can be difficult to read
however, traders and analysts say, because excess stocks can
weigh on the bottom line in year-end accounts, pushing some
refiners to process their crude stocks regardless of margins and
giving some importers little incentive to replenish stocks.
Loading and discharging at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp
trading hub was largely unaffected by a storm that buffetted
parts of northern Europe on Thursday, port officials
'Business as usual,' said a spokeswoman for Amsterdam Port.
A spokeswoman at Antwerp said the storm was expected to peak
Loading delays at BP Rotterdam continued, however, because of
problems at the refinery, traders said.
One trader said efforts to start the gasoline-producing
fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) on Wednesday had tripped the unit
and it could take some time to get back to normal.
The delays did not appear to have a significant impact on
gasoline prices in a very thin market.
Two barges traded in northwest Europe on Thursday, according
to one broker. There were no gasoline cargoes changed hands in
the Mediterranean, another trader said.
The return of U.S. refiners from maintenance was helping
build stocks across the Atlantic and limiting arbitrage
opportunities while seasonal demand in Europe is low.
In new shipping fixtures on Thursday, Mercuria fixed a
tanker for West Africa to load this week, Reuters shipping data
showed. Another tanker was booked to cross the Atlantic next
week, according to the data.
In the naphtha market, Asian demand has caused a rally in
recent weeks with traders saying up to 2 million tonnes of U.S.
and European naphtha would be delivered to Asia in January.
However, such large naphtha exports had left Europe tight and
closed the arbitrage window, traders said.
* No barges of benchmark Eurobob gasoline traded in the
Platts price assessment window on Thursday.
* No barges traded on the Argus platform ahead of the
* Two barges of premium unleaded gasoline traded at $967 a
tonne ob ARA. Vitol sold to Total.
* At the close, the January swap was at $953 a tonne, down
from $957 a tonne on Wednesday.
* Eurobob's crack to dated Brent was at $1.075,
firmer than Wednesday's level of $0.915 a barrel.
* Brent crude oil futures were down 12 cents at
$111.76 a barrel by 1622 GMT.
* U.S. RBOB gasoline futures in New York were up 0.75
percent at $2.7397 a gallon, and the crack was at
$17.13 a barrel.
* No naphtha cargoes traded in the window on Thursday.
* The December crack swap was at minus $3.45 a barrel,
firmer than minus $3.60 a barrel on Wednesday. The January crack
swap was also firmer at $4.75 a barrel.
(Reporting by Lin Noueihed; editing by David Evans)
Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE/GASOLINE
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