Romania's growing autogas market boosts 2023 imports

  • Market: LPG
  • 16/04/24

Demand for autogas is expected to continue rising in the country as it maintains a discount to competing motor fuels

Romania's autogas consumption increased last year as more drivers were attracted by its lower price compared with gasoline and diesel, helping to lift imports to the country by over a quarter on the year.

Autogas sales in the country rose by 10,000-30,000t on the year to 270,000-300,000t as a result of its lower price against other motor fuels. "The ratio of autogas to gasoline prices fell below 50pc last year from 60-65pc owing to rising global gasoline and diesel prices," a Romanian trader says.

Romanian autogas prices stood at 3.27-3.35 lei/litre (71-73¢/l) last week, while gasoline prices were Lei7.12-7.15/l ($1.50/l), putting the former at 47pc of the latter. This compares with autogas' cost of Lei3.91-3.98/l in April 2023, and gasoline at Lei6.63-6.69/l, with a ratio of 59-60pc.

The country's autogas demand could have been even stronger last year had it not been for a fire at the Flagas refuelling station in Crevedia, near Bucharest, in August. Immediately after the accident, a special commission consisting of firefighters, police, an environmental body and tax authorities was formed to carry out inspections at the country's autogas stations, resulting in many being closed. "The commission would close a fuelling station for a slightest non-compliance, so some retail operators shut down their fuelling stations before it arrived," a market participant says.

Romania has more than 1,000 autogas refuelling sites. But around 300 stations are reported to have closed since September 2023 following the incident. This resulted in sales dropping in September-December last year compared with the same period in 2022, according to local market participants.

The growth in autogas sales over the whole of last year boosted Romania's LPG imports to around 353,000t compared with 278,000t in 2022, Vortexa data show. All of the country's LPG deliveries were to its sea ports of Midia, Mangalia and Galati, as rail shipments from Russia transiting Ukraine, which had been 2,000-3,000 t/month, halted after the war in Ukraine began in late February 2022.

Imports were also supported by cuts to domestic output and an increase in overland exports. Exports rose by about 5,000–10,000t to 330,000–340,000t in 2023, according to market participants, with most of this supported by rising shipments to Ukraine, growing by 45,600t to 235,600t.

Romania's LPG imports from Egypt doubled to 104,200t, Vortexa data show, with most of this supplied by trading firms Naftomar and Evicor. Arrivals from Turkey grew by 51,300t to 69,600t, mostly delivered by Turkish distributors Aygaz and Milangaz. More Kazakh LPG arrived from Georgia's Batumi port, rising by 14,800t to 27,600t, to partially offset the loss of supply from Russia's Taman terminal after exports halted in May 2023. LPG arrivals from Algeria and the US also increased last year (see table).

Gassing up

Romania's autogas demand should be on course to continue expanding this year, with autogas prices at around an 80¢/l discount to gasoline at the beginning of April. The government raised autogas excise duty again from 1 January, to around Lei874/t ($191/t). But it also increased the duty on gasoline to Lei2.02/l and on diesel to Lei1.85/l, and will do so again from 1 July to Lei2.38/l and Lei2.18/l, respectively, while the rate on autogas is expected to remain unchanged.

Autogas sales in the country are expected to increase to 280,000-320,000t this year from 270,000-300,000t in 2023 because of lower excise tax on LPG compared with gasoline and diesel, according to traders. Exports should stabilise while domestic output will increase as technical issues at the Rompetrol refinery are resolved, they say.

Seaborne LPG imports to Romania'000t
2023±% 2022
Egypt104.299.5
Turkey69.535.7
Russia/Kazakhstan54.5-163.0
Georgia27.686.8
US27.149.0
Algeria26.950.2
Tunisia12.011.1
Greece6.3-235.4
Croatia5.7-456.2
Italy3.7183.2
Netherlands3.4247.4
Libya1.1-283.3
Other11.611.6
Total353.530.8

Romania LPG demand by sector 2022

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
16/05/24

LPG World editorial: Clean cooking’s watershed moment?

LPG World editorial: Clean cooking’s watershed moment?

African clean cooking schemes could prove to be an early energy transition success story now that world leaders view them as environmental imperatives London, 16 May (Argus) — The $2.2bn in funding pledged for clean cooking programmes in Africa over the next five years, announced at the IEA's Clean Cooking Summit in Paris on 14 May, could be a "turning point", according to the agency's executive director Fatih Birol. Not only would this be true in terms of tackling what is a long-neglected problem. It is also true for the LPG industry, which has been extolling the benefits of a transition to LPG in sub-Saharan Africa for many years. Other than the dozen or so individual financial commitments made by governments and organisations, what resonated most from the event was just how achievable transitioning sub-Saharan Africa to cleaner fuels such as LPG actually is. Often the immediate reaction is to balk at the challenges — the lack of infrastructure, the lack of regulatory frameworks, the corruption, the cost of the LPG and equipment. Yet this was when it was looked at purely through the prism of the market. Now it is an environmental and social imperative. Many of the political leaders from Europe, Africa and the US that spoke noted that greenhouse emissions from cooking were comparable to the airline and shipping sectors, yet tackling the former is far less complex, less expensive and receives scant recognition in comparison with the latter two. "We can fix it now… it is not high-tech, it is low-tech," Norway's prime minister Jonas Gahr Store told delegates. Another often ignored part of the issue is how disproportionately women are affected by cooking with harmful solid biomass fuels — perhaps an underlying factor behind the many years of neglect at a national and international level. This is a gender issue, both Birol and Tanzania's first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, noted. The obvious health and social benefits from the transition to clean cooking will be most keenly felt by women and their children, who are at home breathing in the smoke from open fires. Several of the speakers, including African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina and World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus, even spoke of their own experience of growing up in a household with open fires, and the consequent unnecessary suffering their mothers in particular had to endure. LPG is not the only solution here — others mentioned included electric cookers, biogas, bioethanol and cleaner cooking stoves. And as a fossil fuel, it will ultimately be replaced at some stage by renewable alternatives. But it is the best solution right now for large parts of the region. "LPG is the most efficient in terms of its benefits and its ease of use," Togo's president Faure Gnassingbe said. LPG markets can develop in the region through subsidies and LPG price regulation to moderate volatility, while countries must also invest in domestic LPG production as well as import and distribution infrastructure, he said. Each country will be different, but it is "well within our reach", Gnassingbe added. From pledge to realisation The sub-Saharan African region and the LPG industry must now work with foreign governments, financial institutions and private-sector companies to ensure that the large sums pledged are invested in a pragmatic and fruitful way. The IEA will come back in a year's time to report on the progress of the various commitments made at the summit and will provide updates online in an effort to ensure progress and transparency, Birol said. There is reason for cautious hope. The feasibility of achieving the transition and the relatively low levels of foreign investment involved — and the huge opportunities for LPG companies that will emerge — could create the conditions for success of a kind that has so far eluded many other such ambitions. It would be a huge boon for the world to have one such success story to point to by 2030 in its long, hard struggle to transition to a cleaner energy future. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Find out more
News

Japan’s Mol orders dual-fuel LPG, ammonia VLGCs


16/05/24
News
16/05/24

Japan’s Mol orders dual-fuel LPG, ammonia VLGCs

Tokyo, 16 May (Argus) — Japanese shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines (Mol) has ordered two dual-fuel very large gas carriers (VLGCs) to deliver LPG and ammonia, with commissioning expected in 2026. Mol has reached a deal with TotalEnergies' shipping arm CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services to charter two 88,000m³ VLGCs to deliver LPG and ammonia, although the specific time period is undisclosed. The vessel will be built by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, which has developed an engine that can use LPG and fuel oil. Japan's LPG consumption totalled 11.8mn t in the 2023-24 fiscal year ending 31 March, down by 3.2pc from a year earlier, according to the Japan LP Gas Association. Japan's trade and industry ministry expects the downwards trend will be driven further by technology innovation of high efficiency equipment. But its expects ammonia demand as a fuel to increase to 3mn t/yr by 2030 and to 30mn t/yr by 2050. Japan has set a goal of a 20pc ammonia co-firing at domestic coal-fired power plants by 2030 and above 50pc by 2050 to achieve the country's 2050 decarbonisation goal. By Reina Maeda Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Rains hamper LPG distribution in south Brazil


14/05/24
News
14/05/24

Rains hamper LPG distribution in south Brazil

Sao Paulo, 14 May (Argus) — Torrential rain and flooding in southern Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul state reduced LPG distribution by 7-10pc in the affected area during the first two weeks of May, according to local market participants. LPG distributor Copa Energia's operations at its Canoas city unit — responsible for 30pc of the state's supply — were expected to resume by mid-May. The heavy rains since late April left 100 people dead, a further 128 missing and around 164,000 displaced from their homes, according to the state's civil defence. LPG companies have been working to ensure supplies are maintained in the region, with some advancing salary benefits to support workers during the crisis, local participants say. Distribution began to normalise by 6 May after "the chaos and lack of information" over the 4-5 May weekend passed, an industry executive says. State-controlled Petrobras' 201,000 b/d Refap refinery was also affected, cutting LPG output, but the volume was not disclosed. Many LPG retailers are now able to receive supplies, but it is unknown how many distribution routes have been compromised, according to local industry. LPG stocks have been able to meet demand, preventing shortages, they say. Oil regulator ANP's measures to cut red tape and foster collaboration during a crisis has kept the market supplied, according to LPG association Sindigas chief executive Sergio Bandeira de Mello. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Iraq’s BGC boosts LPG exports as BNGL start-up nears


14/05/24
News
14/05/24

Iraq’s BGC boosts LPG exports as BNGL start-up nears

The BNGL plant will help Iraq reduce its gas flaring and increase power generation capacity when it fully comes on line, writes Ieva Paldaviciute Dubai, 14 May (Argus) — Iraqi upstream joint venture Basrah Gas' (BGC) growing production and exports of LPG are helping to raise the country's overseas LPG shipments this year despite delays to the start-up of its Basrah Natural Gas Liquids (BNGL) plant. The BNGL project, launched in 2019, incorporates two 200mn ft³/d (2.1bn m³/yr) gas processing trains, the first of which was inaugurated in May last year. Each train will produce 700-900 t/d of LPG — BGC's LPG output has risen by about 400-500 t/d to 6,000 t/d this year. Yet the first train has yet to reach full processing capacity despite being scheduled to do so in late 2023. The company now expects both trains to be fully operational by the end of this year. BGC, a joint venture between Shell, state-owned South Gas and Japan's Mitsubishi, has 1bn ft³/d of gas processing capacity split between two of its NGL plants in Khor al-Zubair and North Rumaila. The 400mn ft³/d BNGL plant will increase capacity by 40pc and includes "best-in-class" cryogenic NGL trains, the firm says. These facilities process associated gas from oil production at the Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair fields. BNGL is also intended to help Iraq reduce its gas flaring and increase power generation capacity by around 1.5GW. BGC's LPG exports have nevertheless been climbing as it works to bring the BNGL plant on line. The company primarily supplies LPG to Iraq's domestic market, mostly for residential cooking, and exports the surplus. But smaller local suppliers are now cutting into BGC's domestic market share, freeing up more of its LPG for export. This includes Iraq's new 140,000 b/d Karbala refinery, which started operations earlier this year and is now selling around 700 t/d of LPG domestically. BGC typically exports split propane-butane cargoes through tenders to south Asian importers such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as to east African countries such as Tanzania and Mauritius. These are shipped from the company's Umm Qasir terminal on the Mideast Gulf — which can store around 222,000t of LPG, Argus data show — historically on board small pressurised ships but as of this year on Handysize vessels as well, according to analytics firm Kpler. BGC shipped its first semi-refrigerated 100pc propane cargo on the Handysize Navigator Gemini on 2 May, which is due at China's Yizheng port around 27 May, Vortexa data show. The buyer has not been confirmed but the port is owned by Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical and is close to Sinopec's 280,000 b/d Yangzi refinery. Sinopec has recently been importing more LPG to cover losses during planned maintenance. BGC helped to turn Iraq from a net importer of LPG to a net exporter in 2016. Exports rose strongly to above 200,000t in 2018, before falling over the next three years, Kpler data show. They have increased significantly in 2024, nearly tripling on the year to 49,000 t/month in January-April and forecast to hit a monthly high of 86,000t this month. But the data may be partially skewed — local industry sources have suggested some Iranian LPG cargoes have been disguised as Iraqi exports through ship tracking to bypass sanctions on the former country's oil and gas sector. Flare cuts Iraq is becoming less dependent on BGC for LPG, but the country still relies heavily on its dry gas production for its growing power generation needs. The firm produces enough gas to generate around 3.5GW of the 20GW of power Iraq can generate daily, which is still short of the 35GW it needs at peak times. Iraq simultaneously flares more than half of its gross gas production of around 3bn ft³/d. But Iraq has the world's 12th largest proven natural gas reserves. Underinvestment, mismanagement and conflict have kept it dependent on Iranian gas importsand allowed flaring to continue. Baghdad intends to attract investors to ramp up gas output. The BGC project and a multi-billion dollar deal with TotalEnergies last year that includes a 600mn ft³/d processing plant signal it is moving in the right direction. Iraq seaborne LPG exports Iraq sea LPG exports by country 2023 Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Sub-Saharan Africa gets $2.2bn for clean cooking


14/05/24
News
14/05/24

Sub-Saharan Africa gets $2.2bn for clean cooking

Governments, financial institutions and private-sector firms made a string of funding pledges at this week's IEA summit, write Peter Wilton and Matt Scotland London, 14 May (Argus) — Public and private-sector pledges amounting to $2.2bn to provide access to clean cooking fuels, including LPG, in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 were announced at the IEA's Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa in Paris on 14 May. Governments, financial institutions and private-sector companies made a string of funding pledges at the event, which attracted heads of state from Norway, Tanzania, Togo and Sierra Leone, as well as 21 ministers. From the public sector, the EU has earmarked €400mn ($432mn) for clean cooking under an existing EU-Africa investment package. Norway's prime minister Jonas Gahr Store added $50mn to this commitment, while French, Danish and UK ministers pledged €100mn, $72mn and £8.5mn ($10.7mn), respectively, under various clean cooking initiatives across the continent to 2030. The US will add a minimum of $40mn in the next two years alone. Private-sector pledges were led by energy firms active in the region, many of which operate in the LPG sector. Trading company Vitol committed $550mn towards infrastructure, LPG cylinders, distribution and cookstoves across the firm's African operations, while Italy's Eni pledged $300mn to lift the number of beneficiaries of its clean cooking programme in Africa from 500,000 to 10mn by 2027 and 20mn by 2030. TotalEnergies will invest $100mn in additional LPG production and associated local distribution in Uganda, and $400mn across Africa and India in developing LPG cooking markets, chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said. LPG is a "pragmatic, existing enabler for access to clean cooking", he said. Africa50 — a financial institution founded by African governments and the African Development Bank (AFDB) to mobilise investment in infrastructure in the continent — pledged $500mn of finance for LPG infrastructure projects, according to chief executive Alain Ebobisse. This is on top of a previous commitment from the AFDB, announced at the UN's Cop 28 climate summit in November, to allocate 20pc of its energy lending budget — worth around $2bn over the next 10 years — to clean cooking. The bank has also urged local governments in Africa to allocate 5pc of their current energy investments to clean cooking, which would raise another $3.5 bn/yr, AFDB president Akinwumi Adesina said. LPG plays a crucial role in the IEA's vision for clean cooking in Africa. Under the Paris-based agency's "access for all" policies scenario, around 45pc of the transition will be to LPG by 2030. The IEA wants to mobilise $4 bn/yr of investment in clean cooking in sub-Saharan Africa, 80pc of which will be for end-user equipment and 20pc for infrastructure, a goal that it says is achievable now. The region can look to emulate successful LPG transitions in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Ghana, Tanzanian president Samia Suluhu Hassan said. IEA executive director Fatih Birol said he hopes the world will look back on the summit "as the turning point" for tackling the problem. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Generic Hero Banner

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