Marine fuel global weekly market update

  • Market: Biofuels, E-fuels, Emissions, Hydrogen, Natural gas, Oil products, Petrochemicals
  • 20/02/24

A weekly Argus news digest of interest to the conventional and alternative marine fuel markets. To speak to our team about accessing the stories below and access to Argus Marine Fuels, please contact marinefuels@argusmedia.com.

Alternative marine fuels

16 February CMA CGM takes first of 10 LNG-fueled vessels France-based shipping company CMA CGM will take delivery of the first of a series of 10 LNG-fueled container ships this month.

16 February Egypt to load 8-10 more LNG cargoes by end-winter: Eni Egypt could load 8-10 more LNG cargoes "before the end of the winter season", Eni said today.

16 February South Korean refiners opt to co-process biofuels A lack of regional mandates and retreating European demand for hydrotreated biofuels this year has pushed back timelines for new capacity start-ups in Asia-Pacific, driving South Korean refiners to favour co-processing rather than standalone biofuel plants.

15 February WSC proposes fossil-green fuel price gap close The World Shipping Council (WSC) proposed a green balance mechanism to close the price gap between conventional and sustainable marine fuels.

15 February Singapore LNG bunker sales at 5-month high Singapore LNG bunker sales reached a five-month high in January, according to data from Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), driven by competitive prices compared with conventional marine fuel.

15 February Lake Charles Methanol to build $3.2bn low-CO2 plant Lake Charles Methanol II announced plans to build a $3.2bn plant that will produce low-carbon intensity methanol and other chemicals at the Port of Lake Charles.

15 February Singapore LNG bunker sales at 5-month high Singapore LNG bunker sales reached a five-month high in January, according to data from Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), driven by competitive prices compared with conventional marine fuel.

15 February Maritime sector most promising for H2 in transport: HE The maritime sector provides most opportunities for use of hydrogen-based synthetic fuels in the transport sector, according to a survey carried out by industry body Hydrogen Europe.

15 February JBS says its B100 biodiesel has same yield as diesel Global meat producer JBS said that its 100pc biodiesel fuel (B100) — unblended biodiesel — has an energy efficiency equivalent to diesel and emits up to 80pc less carbon dioxide, based on tests on one of its trucks.

15 February Off-spec bio-blends widen pricing spread The range of prices for marine biodiesel blends in Europe has widened as cheaper product that does not meet the region's diesel engine specifications — as defined by the European EN14214 standard — gains market share.

15 February China turns to domestic ammonia output boost Increased domestic production capacity and weaker downstream industrial demand has the potential to weigh on China's ammonia imports this year.

15 February Mabanaft to build green methanol plant in Australia Hamburg-based Mabanaft has received approval to build a new green methanol plant in Port Augusta, located in southern Australia.

14 February Emerging LNG markets to absorb extra supply: Shell Emerging gas markets in China, southeast and south Asia will absorb much of the increase in LNG supply for the rest of this and the next decade, having been constrained by high prices in 2022-23, Shell said in its global LNG outlook, published today.

14 February Avoid offsets, ETS for carbon removals: Study Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) activities should be promoted for the "right reasons" and at the "right scale", and should not be financed through carbon offset credits or included in emissions trading systems (ETS), according to a recent study by the Institute for Responsible Carbon Removal at American University.

14 February Indonesia ammonia production at risk of curtailments Indonesian ammonia producers could be forced to consider production curtailments or outages if southeast Asian loading prices fall much further.

14 February More than 100 US biogas plants to start up in 2024 The American Biogas Council said 96 new biogas projects with a combined production capacity of 66,000 ft³/minute (9.82bn m³/yr) became operational in the US in 2023. It expects over 100 more to start up this year and said output from these will mostly be used for transportation fuel instead of power production.

14 February Chinese yard advances 271,000m³ LNG carrier orders French engineering firm Gaztransport and Technigaz (GTT) has received an order for eight 271,000m³ LNG tanks from a Chinese shipyard, with delivery of the vessels to be fitted with the tanks scheduled between the second quarter of 2028 and fourth quarter of 2029, GTT said.

14 February SE Asian UCO sees limited hit from US fast-food boycott A consumer boycott on US fast food outlets in support of Palestine is affecting some Indonesian and Malaysian used cooking oil (UCO) supplies, but market participants said the overall impact should be limited.

13 February Carnival commissions new LNG-fueled vessel US cruise ship operator Carnival has ordered a newbuild dual-fuel LNG-powered vessel for delivery in spring 2027.

13 February US House readies vote to end LNG review pause President Joe Biden's temporary pause on the review of new US LNG export facilities could face its first congressional test with a vote on a Republican-backed bill that would eliminate federal licensing of those projects.

13 February LNG carrier declares for Greece's Alexandroupolis The TotalEnergies-chartered 174,000m³ Gaslog Hong Kong has declared for arrival at Greece's new 4.3mn t/yr Alexandroupolis import terminal on 15 February, and could deliver the facility's first cargo.

13 February EU hydrogen plan relies on uncertain imports: T&E The EU should not rely on uncertain imports to meet its overly-ambitious hydrogen targets, says a study commissioned by the Brussels-based climate group Transport & Environment (T&E).

12 February Red Sea issues impact European methanol, derivatives Volatility in shipping markets following attacks in the Red Sea is impacting Europe's methanol market indirectly through higher freight rates and has directly impacted European derivative markets, as a result of reduced vessel availability and rerouting.

12 February Qatar taps Nakilat for second phase LNG fleet expansion State-owned QatarEnergy has selected Qatari state-controlled shipowner Nakilat for the ownership and operation of 25 174,000m³ LNG carriers, to be built at an unnamed shipyard in South Korea.

12 February SBTi validates Maersk's GHG emission reduction targets Danish shipping firm Moller-Maersk has become the first company to have its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets validated under new maritime guidance from the UN-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

12 February Spanish independent biodiesel producers under pressure Smaller Spanish biodiesel producers remain under pressure from thin margins that are cutting profits and shutting in some output. They are not being supported by domestic demand, which fell to a seven-year low in 2023.

12 February Mabanaft to apply for ammonia import terminal permit German energy trading firm Mabanaft expects to submit a permit application for its planned 1.2mn t/yr ammonia import terminal at Hamburg in the spring of this year.

Alternative marine fuels

16 February Fujairah bunker premiums weaken as ships reroute Delivered bunker premiums have fallen in Fujairah, UAE, the world's third largest bunkering centre. Demand has weakened in recent weeks as a result of route diversions, stemming from the tense security situation in the Red Sea.

16 February US Gulf coast fuel oil spreads widest in 11 months Sulphur spreads between US Gulf coast residual fuel oil grades have reached the widest in 11 months, but that could change as refinery turnarounds likely wind down by late February or early March.

16 February Brazil's Paranagua cargo handling rises in January Cargo handling in Brazil's southern Paranagua and Antonina ports increased by 20pc in January from the same month last year, driven by higher exports and imports.

16 February Brazil's Paranagua port seeks to reach net zero by 2035 Brazil's port of Paranagua is working on a decarbonization plan for delivery by the end of 2026 to help it reach net zero balance greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2035 by developing renewable energy sources such as biogas and hydrogen.

16 February Tanker targeted in Red Sea A Panama-flagged tanker was targeted by a missile in the Red Sea today around 72 miles northwest of Mokha, Yemen, according to security firm Ambrey.

16 February Japan's NYK taps demand for chemical tankers Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) plans to receive six chemical tankers from late 2026 to 2029, in anticipation of potential demand growth for petrochemical products.

15 February Upper Mississippi ice report canceled on warm weather An annual government ice measurement program for shipping on the upper Mississippi River was canceled this year because of unseasonably warm weather.

15 February Scorpio Tankers upbeat on clean tanker rates New York-listed Scorpio Tankers said it expects strong market fundamentals to keep clean tanker freight rates elevated, even if disruptions to trade flows dissipate.

15 February Magellan Corpus Christi terminal doing maintenance US crude and refined products pipeline operator Magellan Midstream reported maintenance at its Corpus Christi, Texas, marine terminal.

15 February ARA oil products stocks increase on weaker demand Independently-held oil product stocks at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub hit their highest since mid-August, reaching 5.67mn t in the week to 14 February, according to consultancy Insights Global, as demand in the region slowed down.

15 February Panama Canal freezes customer priority ranking The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will freeze its customer priority ranking used to secure transit slots while temporary water-saving measures remain in place.

15 February Singapore's oil product stocks inch higher Singapore's overall oil product inventories inched upwards, driven by a surge in middle distillate imports, despite both light and heavy distillate stocks falling close to a 2½ month low, showed latest data from Enterprise Singapore.

14 February Petrobras working to rebuy refinery: CEO Brazil's state-controlled Petrobras is in talks with Abu Dhabi's Mubadala to buy the 300,000 b/d Mataripe refinery back, Petrobras' chief executive Jean Paul Prates said on social media.

14 February HSFO Med/NWE spread reaches near seven-month high High-sulphur bunker fuel in the west Mediterranean moved to its strongest premium to northwest Europe this week as attacks by Houthi rebels squeeze supply.

14 February Vitol can do with Saras what Saras cannot do alone Vitol's takeover of Italian independent refiner Saras, set in motion this week, could turn the latter into a specialised tool within the trading company's diverse business, while giving it a stronger footing to compete with rival Trafigura in Mediterranean oil markets.

14 February South Korea lifts 2023 light distillates output South Korean refiners increased light distillates production in 2023, while gasoil output fell.

13 February BP terminals low on fuel due to Whiting refinery outage BP told wholesale fuel customers it is buying refined products on the market to meet contractual obligations amid the continuing outage of its 435,000 b/d Whiting, Indiana, refinery.

13 February Outages hit Ecuador's 2023 refinery production Ecuador's three oil refineries of Esmeraldas, La Libertad and Shushufindi processed an average 146,235 b/d of crude in 2023, down by 5.3pc compared with the previous year, according to operator state-owned Petroecuador's data.

13 February Japan's bonded marine fuel sales fall in 2023 Japan sold less bonded marine fuel in 2023 compared with a year earlier, pressured by limited supply from domestic refineries owing to a series of disruptions.

12 February Suriname refinery undergoing 7-week turnaround Suriname's state-owned oil company Staatsolie's 15,000 b/d Tout Lui Faut refinery will undergo a seven-week turnaround starting on 16 February, Staatsolie said.

12 February US refiners shrug off dip in earnings US refiners' fourth-quarter financial results so far reveal a dip in earnings from the bumper profits of 2022, but the sector remains on a profitable footing and confident.

12 February India's MRPL plans refinery maintenance in Aug-Sep Indian state-controlled refiner MRPL plans to conduct a maintenance turnaround at one unit of its 311,000 b/d Mangalore refinery for around three weeks during August-September, a top official from the company told Argus.

12 February Atlantic basin diesel faces tight spring European diesel markets could be facing a tight spring as refinery maintenance and disruptions in the Red Sea make resupply difficult and expensive.


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14/04/24

G7 leaders to meet over Iran's attack on Israel

G7 leaders to meet over Iran's attack on Israel

Dubai, 14 April (Argus) — Leaders of the G7 will meet today, 14 April, to co-ordinate a diplomatic response to Iran's overnight air attack on Israel, which ushered a new phase in a six-month conflict that is threatening regional escalation. G7 presidency Italy "has organized a conference at leaders' level for the afternoon of today," Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni said on X, formerly Twitter. US President Joe Biden has pledged a co-ordinated G7 diplomatic response and condemned the Iranian assault. Iran fired hundreds of drones and missiles against Israel on the evening of 13 April, according to the country's state-owned news agency Irna. Almost all were intercepted before they reached Israeli airspace and there were no fatalities reported by Israel. One civilian was injured and an air force base in southern Israel was lightly damaged, according to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). The Iranian attack came in response to a suspected Israeli air strike on the vicinity of Iran's embassy compound in Damascus, Syria, on 1 April. Tehran's foreign minster Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Iran considers this to be the end of its operation. But energy markets, which have been supported in recent weeks by a geopolitical risk premium, will face a week of uncertainty about whether Israel will retaliate. The front-month June Ice Brent contract was trading at $90.45/bl before markets closed for the weekend, and hit a more-than five month high of $92.18/bl on Friday, 12 April. Israeli officials said the attack was "a severe and dangerous escalation" from Tehran. Israel's war cabinet is meeting today to discuss a response. "We will build a regional coalition and exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us," said cabinet minister Benny Gantz. The US is urging Israel to claim victory for its defence, in an apparent effort to discourage Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government from feeling compelled to retaliate. While noting that Israel ultimately will make the decision as to how to respond, White House national security communications co-ordinator John Kirby, in a televised interview today, hailed what he called Israel's "incredible military achievement" in defending itself against the attack. Very little managed to penetrate the defensive shield, "and the damage was extraordinarily light," he said. The US military played a role in helping to defend against the attack, bringing down "several dozens of drones and missiles," Kirby said. UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said the Royal Air Force shot down "a number of Iranian attack drones". Israel's western allies are urging it to show restraint as they try to prevent a wider conflict in the Middle East, which could directly affect oil producers and send energy prices soaring. President Biden is especially keen to avoid such a scenario in an election year. By Bachar Halabi and David Ivanovich Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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News

EBRD has no plan to fully ban gas investment soon


12/04/24
News
12/04/24

EBRD has no plan to fully ban gas investment soon

London, 12 April (Argus) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has no plan to completely ban gas investments in the near future, its chief economist, Beata Javorcik, told Argus . "We do not finance upstream gas, in rare and exceptional cases we will finance selective downstream and midstream natural gas projects," Javorcik said on the sidelines of the Financial Times Global Commodities Summit in Lausanne. For projects to receive support from the bank it is necessary to demonstrate "strong ambition to accelerate the low-carbon transition" in the economies where EBRD operates, particularly in those that rely heavily on fossil fuels and coal for electricity and heating, Javorcik said. Certain gas projects can help to bring about a faster decline in Europe's CO2 emissions and ensure energy security while accelerating the deployment of renewables, Javorcik said. In many countries where the EBRD operates "the usage of energy per capita in residential heating and residential appliances is lower than in advanced Europe", but CO2 emissions per capita are roughly equal to or higher than in western Europe, according to the bank. "So, in other words, energy sources in our countries of operations are more intensive in emissions which makes their decarbonisation more challenging and it is why in some cases selective gas projects can support acceleration of the energy transition," Javorcik said. Europe is "well positioned in terms of gas supply" for the next year thanks to the historically high storage inventories at the end of gas winter as well as the prolonged decline of gas use, Javorcik said. "The good news is that prices of LNG in Europe are back to the average level of 2017-21. The bad news is that prices of natural gas in Europe are about four times as high as natural gas in the US," Javorcik said, stressing that it reduces "European competitiveness". Industrial exports from western Europe, in particular Germany, may also remain relatively low in the coming year, which will influence gas demand in the region. "In turn, less positive growth in western Europe translates into lower demand for imports from emerging Europe." "There is also a risk if Donald Trump becomes the new president, the US will impose a 10pc tariff on European exports as has been promised by Trump," Javorcik said. UK bank Barclays has decided not to provide project or other direct finance for existing clients' upstream oil and gas expansions. The bank also said that it would no longer finance new energy clients if more than 10pc of their planned oil and gas capital expenditure is in expansion. Other banks, including HSBC, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, have promised to stop or limit new oil and gas financing. By Alexandra Vladimirova Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Gunvor set for buying spree after windfall: CEO


12/04/24
News
12/04/24

Gunvor set for buying spree after windfall: CEO

London, 12 April (Argus) — Trading firm Gunvor plans to use part of a massive earnings windfall over the past two years to build out its asset base, its chief executive Torbjörn Törnqvist told Argus . "Today, we are under-invested in assets so we will change that," Törnqvist said, adding that investments would be broad based and to some extent opportunistic. "We will employ quite a lot of capital in investments." Independent commodity trading companies are sitting on unprecedented piles of cash after two years of bumper earnings arising from supply chain disruptions and market volatility. While Geneva-based Gunvor is smaller than its peers Vitol, Trafigura and Mercuria, it is still a huge company by most metrics. It reported revenues of $127bn in 2023 and a profit of $1.25bn, following a record $2.36bn in 2022. It has kept most of its earnings in house and had an equity position of almost $6.16bn by the end of 2023 — its highest ever. Törnqvist is eyeing further growth. "We will definitely be a much bigger company, that I can say," he replied when asked where he saw Gunvor in 10 years' time. "I think we will grow in tune with the [energy] transition." Trading firms are looking for ways to keep their competitive advantage, particularly given the uncertainties associated with the energy transition. One emerging trend is an appetite for infrastructure. Vitol is in the process of buying a controlling stake in Italian refiner Saras, which operates the 300,000 b/d Sarroch refinery in Sardinia. Trafigura said this week that it is in talks to buy ExxonMobil's 133,000 b/d Fos refinery on the French Mediterranean coast. Part of the rationale behind these moves is to increase optionality and take advantage of the loss of Russian products to the European market, as well the closure of large chunks of local refining capacity. Gunvor owns the landlocked 100,000 b/d Ingolstadt refinery in Germany and a 75,000 b/d refinery in Rotterdam, where it plans to shift away from fossil fuel use. "Many oil refineries have been up for sale and still are," Törnqvist said. Asked if Gunvor was looking for something similar, he said the company is interested in the "right opportunity" whether in upstream, downstream, midstream or shipping. "It all feeds into what we are doing and all supports our underlying trading," he said. But Törnqvist suspects a lot of Gunvor's growth will come from gas and power — areas where trading companies are already seeing rising profits. The company made its first investment in a power generation asset late in 2023, when it agreed to buy BP's 75pc stake in the 785MW Bahia de Bizkaia combined-cycle gas turbine plant in Bilbao, Spain. It has signed a slew of LNG offtake agreements in the past year and continues to grow its LNG tanker fleet . "We're building logistical capabilities in LNG," Törnqvist said. "Oil is here to stay" Törnqvist said Gunvor is well placed to navigate the energy transition, and is stepping up investments in renewables and biofuels and expanding into carbon and metals trading. "There will be disruptions, there will be different paths to the transition in different parts of the world which go at different paces and have different priorities and ways to deal with it," he said. "This will create opportunities." But Törnqvist is clear that oil and gas will remain an integral part of Gunvor's business. "We feel that oil is here to stay," he said. "And it will grow for several years." By Aydin Calik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

French union eyes strike over Exxon's petchem closure


12/04/24
News
12/04/24

French union eyes strike over Exxon's petchem closure

Barcelona, 12 April (Argus) — ExxonMobil's plan to close its Gravenchon petrochemical plant in Normandy has raised the possibility of more strike action in France's downstream oil sector. The CGT trade union has called on all ExxonMobil workers in France to down tools and for the "immediate shutdown of installations". The situation is fluid and it is not immediately clear whether workers will vote on strikes today or if ExxonMobil's operations in France will be stopped. "We are preparing our plan of action. We will be announcing it very soon," a union official told Argus. ExxonMobil said on 11 April that the Gravenchon plant has made more than €500mn ($540mn) in losses since 2018 and that it cannot afford to continue operating at such a loss. The firm expects the site to fully close, including the steam cracker and related derivatives units, at some point this year with the loss of 677 jobs. "The configuration of the steam cracker, its small size compared to newer units, high operating costs in Europe and higher energy prices make it uncompetitive," it said. The announcement coincided with news that a consortium comprising trading firm Trafigura and energy infrastructure company Entara is in talks to buy ExxonMobil's 133,000 b/d Fos refinery on the French Mediterranean coast. As well as the direct job losses at Gravenchon, the CGT said there would be an additional loss of work for around 3,000 indirect positions and sub-contractors. The local prefecture of Seine Maritime said the decision will have a "very serious impact on employment and the local economy". The CGT said upgrades costing around €200mn are needed at Gravenchon, which is "around 0.5pc" of ExxonMobil's total profit in 2023. ExxonMobil said the decision to close the plant will not impact operations at its adjacent 236,000 b/d Port Jerome refinery. "In current market conditions, the refinery will continue to operate and supply France with fuels, lubricants, basestocks and asphalt," the firm said. ExxonMobil has reduced its exposure to Europe's downstream sector in recent years, selling the 198,000 b/d refinery at Augusta in Italy to Algerian state-owned Sonatrach in 2018 and divesting its stake in the 126,500 b/d Trecate refinery in northern Italy to local refiner API last year. By Adam Porter Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Central Petroleum signs Australian NT gas supply deal


12/04/24
News
12/04/24

Central Petroleum signs Australian NT gas supply deal

Sydney, 12 April (Argus) — Australian independent Central Petroleum has announced a gas supply agreement with Northern Territory (NT) government-owned utility Power and Water Corporation (PWC) to the end of 2024. The Mereenie gas project will supply 8.6PJ (230mn m³) to PWC, which is struggling for supplies from Italian energy firm Eni's Blacktip field offshore the NT that supplies the NT's gas-fired power generation and to private-sector customers, Central said on 12 April. The lack of oversupply in the NT, Australia's smallest jurisdiction by population, means insufficient flows exist to operate the Jemena-operated 90 TJ/d (2.4mn m³/d) Northern gas pipeline linking the NT and Queensland state. Mereenie has effectively curtailed production by 10-15 TJ/d, Central said, but it expects tail gas from Australian independent Santos' offshore Bayu-Undan field to fall in the coming months, enabling Mereenie to increase supplies. Bayu-Undan exported its final cargo through the 3.7mn t/yr Darwin LNG (DLNG) late last year , ahead of preparatory works for backfill through Santos' delayed Barossa project that is currently 70pc complete. DLNG was supplying about 25-35 TJ/d to domestic customers in the NT last month from the depleting Bayu-Undan. A unit of Australia's Macquarie Bank owns 50pc of Mereenie in the NT's onshore Amadeus basin, with operator Central holding 25pc, while 17.5pc is controlled by upstream firm New Zealand Oil and Gas and the remaining 7.5pc by domestic independent Cue Energy. Blacktip started production in 2009 and has an agreement with PWC for an initial 23 PJ/yr, increasing to 37 PJ/yr or nearly 750PJ across its production life of 25 years, which means it should produce up until 2034. By Tom Major Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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