Saudi HSFO demand to support market after IMO 2020

  • Market: Crude oil, Oil products
  • 24/10/18

Surging Saudi Arabian demand for high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) will create a uniquely strong regional market in the Mideast Gulf next year, putting pressure on pricing mechanisms and having consequences for medium sour crude.

Global demand for HSFO is likely to fall precipitously as a result of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 0.5pc sulphur cap on marine fuels that comes into force in 2020. But Saudi Arabia will see the consequent lower absolute prices for HSFO as a chance to accelerate its programme of reducing the direct burn of crude for power generation and free up more of its crude for export.

Relative values will change too — globally, the spread between HSFO and IMO-compliant fuels such as 0.5pc sulphur fuel oil and gasoil will blow out dramatically over the course of next year as IMO 2020 approaches — but HSFO differentials in the Mideast Gulf will find support from Saudi demand and a shift in supply balances.

Saudi Arabia's fuel oil imports rose markedly during the first eight months of 2018 — up by nearly 60pc year on year to 291,000 b/d according to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (Jodi). Imports were 425,000 b/d in June, just ahead of peak demand, compared with 187,000 b/d in June 2017 and 151,000 b/d in June 2016. On the regional supply side, Iran will find it difficult to find an outlet for its around 185,000 b/d of fuel oil exports that typically remain within the region, when US sanctions take full effect. The completion of Kuwait's Clean Fuels Project (CFP) next year will end the country's fuel oil exports until its 615,000 b/d al-Zour greenfield refinery comes online at the end of 2020.

These dynamics will lead to a detachment of the regional market from the pricing hub at Singapore, and may support the development of an independent Mideast Gulf fuel oil assessment. The region looks to Singapore for its fixed price —the Singapore price minus the cost of freight — and for the forward curve. But while the global HSFO market is likely to develop a wide contango as IMO 2020 approaches, a theoretical independent Mideast Gulf forward curve for HSFO would likely show backwardation ahead of summer 2020.

Higher fuel oil imports by Saudi Arabia could free up more of its mostly medium sour crude for export. This in turn could have a knock-on effect on values — demand for similar grades will already be reduced as refiners seek to minimise fuel oil output, resulting in a wider discount to crudes with a lower yield of heavy distillates.

Saudi Arabia's direct crude burn typically peaks in July and August because of harsh summer heat. Direct burn was 580,000 b/d and 490,000 b/d respectively in July and August this year. But it is falling by design — this year was lower than the 657,000 b/d and 659,000 b/d in July and August 2017 and the 697,000 b/d and 739,000 b/d in July and August 2016.


Sharelinkedin-sharetwitter-sharefacebook-shareemail-share

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

News
22/04/24

Brazil 1Q tallow exports triple on long-term contracts

Brazil 1Q tallow exports triple on long-term contracts

Sao Paulo, 22 April (Argus) — Brazilian beef tallow exports totaled 73,930 metric tonnes (t) in the first quarter, a three-fold increase from the same three-month period in 2023 on rising demand. Almost 93pc of outflows between January and March were shipped to the US, according to data from Brazil's trade ministry. Long-term contracts explain the rising flow of exports, even though spot market arbitrage was closed throughout the first quarter (see chart) . The price of tallow in the Paranagua and Santos ports was $960/t fob on 19 April, keeping the arbitrage closed to US Gulf coast buyers, where the reference product was at $901/t on a delivered inland basis. Brazilian tallow is also negotiated at a premium against soybean oil, which closed at $882/t fob Paranagua on 19 April. This scenario has been observed since the 1 December 2023 start of Argus ' tallow export price assessment. Historically, vegetable oil in Brazil was traded at a discount to tallow, but strong demand has boosted the price of animal fat. Some biodiesel plants have been purchasing used cooking oil (UCO) or pork fat as an alternative. In 2023, there were doubts about whether the outflow of tallow from Brazil would be constant. Market participants now believe that the 2024 start of operations at new renewable diesel refineries in the US should sustain exports. Local suppliers that have already signed supply guarantee contracts — some up to three years — with American buyers are also considering export opportunities with Asia, including a new renewable diesel plant in Singapore that could receive Brazilian cargoes. Expansion projects are propelling US demand, including work that would bring capacity at Marathon Petroleum's Martinez Renewables plants in California to 2.35mn m³/y (40,750 b/d)and the Phillips 66 Rodeo unit in northern Californiato 3mn m³/y. These and other new projects will increase annual US demand for tallow by 5mn t. Maintenance on the horizon Maintenance at US refineries has Brazilian sellers bracing for a short-term drop in prices. Between May and June the Diamond Green Diesel (DGD) unit in Port Arthur, Texas, will shut down for maintenance, a stoppage that could impact demand for Brazilian inputs. Market participants have already observed a slight increase in domestic tallow supply, a change they attribute to maintenance at DGD. The advance of the soybean crop in Argentina is also expected to increase the supply of feedstocks to North American plants, as some refineries are returning to soybean oil after a hiatus of several years. The soybean oil quote on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is an important reference for the price of tallow. By Alexandre Melo Renewable feedstocks in Brazil on fob basis R/t Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Read more
News

Colombia's electricity woes add to unrest against Petro


22/04/24
News
22/04/24

Colombia's electricity woes add to unrest against Petro

Bogota, 22 April (Argus) — Colombians took the streets of major cities and towns across the nation on Sunday to protest mainly against health, pension and labor changes, but potential power outages are also creating discontent. Authorities estimated that about 250,000 Colombians marched in widespread protests, sparked by changes in healthcare. Congress in April had rejected President Gustavo Petro's proposals in the sector, and the government the next day seized the two largest private-sector health insurers. Protesting healthcare workers say the government did this to implement changes through a back channel. "Regulatory noise and risk are likely to remain high amid announcements, proposals, and measures [that do not require congressional approval], aimed at changing the game's rules in strategic sectors," brokerage Credicorp Capital said. Colombians also protested being on the verge of electricity rationing like that in neighboring Ecuador as hydroelectric reservoirs remain at record-low levels. Several unions and other associations have long warned the Petro administration to take measures to offset the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon. Electricity distributors last year called for allowing bills for energy purchased on the spot market to be deferred and for loosening price index rules, among other proposals. The national business council sent at least three letters to the president on the issue. At least nine separate letters calling for preparation to prevent blackouts were sent to the president and ministers. Several actions were only recently implemented . "There are no risk of electricity rationing in Colombia," former energy minister Irene Velez said in 2023. "We do not understand why some people are interested in generating panic." Government weather forecasts also overestimated rainfall expected for March, leading hydroelectric plants to use more water in the reservoirs than they otherwise would have, said director of the thermoelectric generation association (Andeg) Alejandro Castaneda. Reservoir levels stood at 29.5pc today, rising thanks to rains since 19 April, up from 28.75pc on 18 April. Electricity rationing is set to begin when reservoirs drop below 27pc, according to grid operator XM. By Diana Delgado Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Oman’s PDO to hit 700,000 b/d crude before 2030 target


22/04/24
News
22/04/24

Oman’s PDO to hit 700,000 b/d crude before 2030 target

Muscat, 22 April (Argus) — Oman's state-controlled PDO has several new greenfield projects that it is looking to bring on stream that should see it reach, and blow past, its target for 700,000 b/d of crude before the end of the decade. Speaking at the Oman Petroleum and Energy show in Muscat today, PDO's managing director Steve Phimister said the company has a portfolio of new "sizeable" projects in the pipeline and expects to reach 700,000 b/d by the "middle of the decade". "But what we would not be going to see in the next couple of years are multibillion dollar projects like Yibal Khuff or Rabab Harweel," he added. PDO's Yibal Khuff — one of Oman's most technically complex upstream projects — came online in 2021 and production was 20,000 b/d in 2022, according to the latest available data for production. Rabab Harweel , Oman's largest enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project, came onstream in 2018 and is producing more than 70,000 b/d. PDO adds around 10,000-15,000 b/d to its production on an average every year, according to Phimister. "Our strategy is to go above 700,000 b/d," he said. "We could, in principle, go quite way above 700,000 b/d of black oil, depending on oil price, shareholder's desire on where they want to invest". But he said PDO wants to grow in "a sustainable way" while "balancing out emission targets." The company in 2021 pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions from its operations by 2050 . The company is likely to hold onto its previous capital expenditure plans, although this is subject to final approval, Phimister said. "We have invested roughly the same amount of capital in the last few years and continue to do so," he said, adding that PDO now has a dual challenge of growing old business while reducing carbon emissions. PDO's planned capital expenditure for last year was $5bn and operating expenditure was at $2bn, in line with 2022 levels. The Omani state owns 60pc of PDO, Shell holds 34pc and TotalEnergies has 4pc. By Rithika Krishna Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

German products demand up on supply concerns


22/04/24
News
22/04/24

German products demand up on supply concerns

Hamburg, 22 April (Argus) — German demand for heating oil and fuels rose sharply in the past week, with consumer concerns that conflict in the Middle East could restrict product availability were coupled with falling domestic product prices. Spot trade of heating oil, diesel and E5 gasoline submitted to Argus reached their highest weekly averages since the start of the year. The last time this amount of heating oil was traded was in December last year, and for gasoline and diesel it was at the beginning of October. Gasoline demand surged particularly in the Emsland and South regions, and middle distillates were primarily traded in Rhine-Main and Southwest. The missile attack by Iran on Israel on 13 April and Israel's drone attack on Iran on 19 April have heightened concerns of further escalation. An open conflict between Iran and Israel could affect supply of crude and gasoil from the Middle East by threatening major shipping routes of the Suez Canal, the strait of Hormuz and the eastern Mediterranean. These concerns led some German consumers to fill their tanks. Concurrently, product prices have fallen across Germany, further stimulating demand. Refineries in Karlsruhe and Neustadt-Vohburg have drawn buyers with fuel oil and gasoline prices below the German average. Heating oil at Miro's 310,000 b/d Karlsruhe traded at more than €2/100l below the national average, while gasoline at Bayernoil's 216,000 b/d Neustadt-Vohburg traded at a discount of almost €6/100l to the same average. By Johannes Guhlke Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

ExxonMobil turns up heat on climate activists


22/04/24
News
22/04/24

ExxonMobil turns up heat on climate activists

New York, 22 April (Argus) — In the run-up to the annual proxy voting season, ExxonMobil is tightening the screws on climate activists it accuses of wasting the company's resources by repeatedly submitting the same shareholder proposals that have been resoundingly defeated in the past. In its 2024 proxy statement released this month, the top US oil major lays out the case against what it describes as "serial proponents" of ballot measures that abuse the shareholder proposal process by pushing their own narrow agenda at the expense of long-term shareholders. The campaign builds on a lawsuit filed against two investors at the start of the year that were leading the clamour for ExxonMobil to accelerate its climate goals and target emissions from customers. Dutch activist group Follow This and sustainable investment firm Arjuna Capital withdrew their motion in light of the lawsuit, but the oil major has continued with its legal action, arguing that "important issues remain for the court to decide". ExxonMobil is also calling for a stricter interpretation of rules governing the proxy process on the part of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The lawsuit follows a growing backlash against environmental, social and governance investing by Republican-led states that has taken aim at large asset managers including BlackRock. The pushback has seen the SEC water down new climate risk disclosure rules following an intense lobbying effort by big business. And US bank JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon recently slammed the White House's LNG export pause as "not only wrong but also enormously naive". The high watermark of the shareholder climate push came in 2021 when a tiny hedge fund overthrew a quarter of ExxonMobil's board with help from institutional investors concerned with the company's lagging financial performance. The difference between then and now is that oil industry profits have bounced back in the intervening years as the debate has shifted in favour of energy security following the war in Ukraine, sending ExxonMobil's share price to new highs. As a result, support for climate motions at oil companies has declined. ExxonMobil has four shareholder measures on the ballot for this year, down from 13 a year ago. Over at Chevron, the second-biggest US oil major, investors will vote on four shareholder proposals, down from eight in 2023. ExxonMobil is encouraging shareholders to vote against the proposals calling on it to cut executive pay incentives for emissions reductions, as well as carry out reports into pay in relation to gender and racial bias, the impact on workers and communities of the energy transition, and plastics. Ballot measures at Chevron include calls to implement reports on tax transparency and human rights practices. Early warning system? Only 3.55pc of the 140 resolutions filed at ExxonMobil annual meetings between 2014 and 2023 passed, the company says. The cost of considering each proposal is as much as $150,000. But proposals that initially attract only a small amount of shareholder support can sometimes act as an early warning system that spurs changes in company strategy further out, climate activists argue. ExxonMobil's lawsuit is an "aggressive effort to chill consideration among its shareholders about how the company is adapting its business model in light of the need for a fair and fast transition away from fossil fuels", advocacy group the Union of Concerned Scientists campaign director Kathy Mulvey says. Shareholder advocate As You Sow, criticised in ExxonMobil's proxy statement, accuses the major of attacking shareholder democracy. The board "should consider proposals on their merits, rather than assaulting the long-standing rights of company owners or their representatives", the group's president, Danielle Fugere, says. By Stephen Cunningham Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more