LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The gasoline barge crack pushed
to fresh three-and-a-half month highs in northwest Europe on
Tuesday as planned seasonal maintenance and unexpected outages
were seen squeezing supply.
Gasoline refining margins pushed to $10.45 a barrel, the
highest since mid-October 2012, on the back of upcoming European
refinery maintenance and ongoing problems at Libya's Ras Lanuf.
Half of the units at Total's 230,000
barrels-per-day Donges refinery are set to shut down for
maintenance on Feb. 4 for six weeks.
Maintenance is also planned for parts of PCK Schwedt, a
German refinery, in April. Half of its units will close for
about four weeks.
Ras Lanuf remains offline due to a strike and a power
failure. Some traders said that force majeure
had been declared on naphtha liftings but this could not be
confirmed with the refinery operator.
'It's a mix of technical problems and a strike at the
refinery,' a trader said. 'It's not so significant on its own
for naphtha in Europe as only three cargoes a month are loaded,
but it does add to a more bullish feel for the market.'
The barrage of refinery news followed Hess's
announcement on Monday that it was looking to sell its oil
storage network and close its Port Reading, New Jersey refinery
before the end of February.
'This is not a small disengagement and does provide another
source of supply uncertainty for the U.S. East Coast,' said
Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix. This will open the
door to more gasoline cargoes from Europe.
* One barge of benchmark Eurobob traded in the window, with
Chevron selling to Vitol at $1,055 a tonne fob ARA. This was up
from Monday's trades at $1,045-$1,048 a tonne. The February swap
was trading at around $1,054.25 at the close.
* Some 6,000 tonnes traded earlier in the session at
$1,037-$1,038 a tonne fob ARA, up from Monday's early trades at
$1,020-$1,030 a tonne.
* Gunvor and Total sold to Trafigura, Cargill and BP. These
early trades came at premiums to the February swap of $1-$2 a
* Four barges of premium unleaded traded at $1,070-$1,076 a
tonne fob ARA, in line with Monday's trade at $1,073 a tonne.
* NIC, Vitol and Chevron were on the sell side whilst
Phillips 66, Statoil and Gunvor were buyers.
* At 1702 GMT, Brent crude oil futures were up 97
cents at $114.45 a barrel.
* Eurobob's crack to dated Brent was up at around
$10.45 a barrel from around $10.22 a barrel on Monday.
* February U.S. RBOB gasoline futures were up 0.96
percent at $2.9629 a gallon.
* RBOB's crack to U.S. crude oil futures was
trading at $27.04 a barrel, down from $27.46 a barrel around the
same time on Monday.
* Four naphtha cargoes traded in the window at $947-$953 a
tonne cif NWE, up from $946-947 a tonne on Monday.
* Shell, Dow and Vitol were selling and Glencore, Morgan
Stanley and Trafigura were buyers.
* The prompt naphtha crack weakened to around minus $7.50 a
barrel according to Reuters' calculations, from minus $6.90 a
barrel on Monday.
(Reporting by Claire Milhench; additional reporting by Ron
Bousso, editing by William Hardy)
Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE/GASOLINE
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