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Vancouver crude exports up fourfold in June

  • Market: Freight
  • 02/07/24

Crude oil exports on Canada's Pacific coast quadrupled in June, the first full calendar month with ship loadings on the expanded Trans Mountain pipeline system, according to data from Vortexa.

About 300,000 b/d of crude was exported from the port of Vancouver last month, up from 75,000 b/d in May and up nearly ninefold from 35,000 b/d in June 2023, according to Vortexa. The 590,000 b/d Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project began commercial service on 1 May, nearly tripling the capacity of the pipeline system to 890,000 b/d, though the first TMX cargo loaded on 20 May.

Up to 250,000 b/d of crude from Trans Mountain can also go to Washington state on the Puget Sound pipeline system.

Of the 19 Aframaxes that had discharged TMX crude by 1 July, nine discharged onto very large crude carriers (VLCCs) at the Pacific Area Lightering (PAL) zone, six discharged at ports on the US west coast and three went directly to China, according to Kpler data. Three remained in transit for either Los Angeles or PAL as of 2 July.

Another Aframax, operated by Unipec, partially discharged at Long Beach, next to Los Angeles, before topping off a VLCC at PAL.

Prior to TMX, two to four Aframaxes per month discharged Canadian crude at ports on the US west coast.

According to Kpler, four VLCCs departed PAL with Canadian crude for destinations in Asia-Pacific: the Eagle Verona, which co-loaded one 550,000 bl cargo of Access Western Blend (AWB) with 1.5mn bl of Colombian Castilla destined for China; the Advantage Value, which has three 550,000 bl cargoes of AWB destined for India; the Cosrich Lake, which has four cargoes of TMX crude totaling 1.75mn bl destined for China; and the New Pearl, which co-loaded two 550,000 bl cargoes of AWB with Ecuadorian crude destined for China.

Of the 22 Aframax voyages from Vancouver in June, half went on time-chartered vessels and the other half went on spot market tonnage, including rehired time-chartered vessels. Freight rates to ship Cold Lake from Vancouver last month averaged $2.25/bl for voyages to the US west coast and $6.33/bl for voyages directly to China, according to Argus data.

Over the same span, the cost to reverse lighter, or transfer, three 550,000 bl shipments of Cold Lake from Vancouver onto a VLCC at PAL then onward to China averaged about $7.075mn lumpsum, or $4.32/bl, excluding demurrage costs, according to Argus estimates. The heavy nature of Canadian crude and Aframax draft restrictions in Vancouver may complicate fully loading a 2mn bl VLCC.

Twenty-nine Aframaxes are expected to be available to load in Vancouver throughout July, of which 17 are time-chartered and 12 are spot market vessels. Time-chartered ships can still be relet for use by other shippers.


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Flooding closes upper Mississippi locks


08/07/24
News
08/07/24

Flooding closes upper Mississippi locks

Houston, 8 July (Argus) — High water levels in the Mississippi River have caused all lock and dams to close between Bellevue, Iowa, and Gladstone, Illinois, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Lock and Dams (L&D) 12-18 are closed as of 8 July, the Corps said. Water levels have reached the top of L&D 12 in Bellevue and L&D 11 in Dubuque, according to the National Weather Service. The outflow at L&D 16 was at 255,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 8 July, about 68pc more than the average of 80,000cfs this time of year, the Corps said. It will be another two weeks until L&D 20 reopens, but L&Ds 11-15 could reopen as early as this weekend, the Corps said. About 15 inches of rain fell in Dubuque over the past week, bringing the expected forecast up to 22.1ft, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Flooding at Dubuque and other locations along the river are expected to drop from major to moderate levels this week. L&D 19 reopened on 8 July as it fellow flood stage at 16ft, the Corps said. L&Ds 19, 21, and 22 are expected to remain open. The river widens around the locks, allowing for a greater outflow at higher water levels. By Trajan Greenwell Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Beryl enters GOM, heading towards Texas: Update


05/07/24
News
05/07/24

Beryl enters GOM, heading towards Texas: Update

Updates hurricane watch and status of Texas ports and lightering zones. New York, 5 July (Argus) — Hurricane Beryl weakened to a tropical storm as it crossed the Yucatan Peninsula and entered the Gulf of Mexico on Friday afternoon, with a likely second landfall in Texas on Monday. Maximum sustained winds have dropped to near 65mph, the National Hurricane Center said in a 5pm ET advisory, but the tropical storm is forecast to strengthen to a hurricane again as it moves over the Gulf of Mexico, with forecasts pointing to a landfall late Sunday or early Monday from far northeastern Mexico to the eastern Texas coast. The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch from the mouth of the Rio Grande River to Sargent, Texas, about 80 miles southwest of Houston. Heavy rainfall of 4-8 inches is expected by Sunday into next week. The US Coast Guard changed the status of the port of Corpus Christi, Texas — a key US oil export hub — to "X-ray" at 3pm ET Friday, meaning gale force winds are expected to arrive at the port within 48 hours. All commercial traffic and transfer operations can continue during X-ray, but the Coast Guard said ocean-going commercial vessels greater than 500 gross tons should make plans to depart the port. Corpus Christi is also home to three refineries totaling 800,000 b/d of capacity. Citgo said it is implementing its hurricane preparedness plan at its 165,000 b/d refinery there. The ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston and Freeport were set to port condition Whiskey at 5:05pm ET Friday, meaning gale force winds are expected to arrive within 72 hours. The ports remain open to all commercial traffic. Ship-to-ship transfers off the Texas coast proceeded as normal on Friday but will be postponed off Corpus Christi beginning Sunday. The US National Weather Service (NWS) forecast winds up to 90mph and waves up to 32 ft at the Corpus Christi lightering area on Sunday and Monday before calmer conditions return Tuesday. Ship-to-ship transfers are expected to be postponed at the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area early next week due to the same conditions. Most of Mexico's Gulf coast ports were closed today and many offshore oil production operations. The impact to US Gulf oil and gas operations so far appears to be limited, with BP determining forecasts "indicate Hurricane Beryl no longer poses a significant threat" to its offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Shell had taken the precaution of shutting in production and evacuating all staff from its Perdido platform and its Whale development, which is scheduled to begin operations later this year. "We have safely paused some of our drilling operations, but there are currently no other impacts on our production across the Gulf of Mexico," the company said late on Thursday. Earlier this week, Beryl was a Category 5 storm, which made it the strongest on record for the month of July, as it left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean. By Stephen Cunningham, Tray Swanson and Nathan Risser Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

US services contract in June, signal broad weakening


03/07/24
News
03/07/24

US services contract in June, signal broad weakening

Houston, 3 July (Argus) — Economic activity in the US services sector contracted in June by the most since 2020 while a report earlier this week showed contraction in manufacturing, signaling a broad-based slowdown in the economy as the second quarter came to an end. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) services purchasing managers index (PMI) registered 48.8 in June, down from 53.8 in May. Readings above 50 signal expansion, while those below 50 signal contraction for the services economy. The June services PMI "indicates the overall economy is contracting for the first time in 17 months," ISM said. "The decrease in the composite index in June is a result of notably lower business activity, a contraction in new orders for the second time since May 2020 and continued contraction in employment." The business activity/production index fell to 49.6 from 61.2. New orders fell by 6.8 points to 47.3. Employment fell by 1 point to 46.1. Monthly PMI reports can be volatile, but a services PMI above 49 over time generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. "Survey respondents report that in general, business is flat or lower, and although inflation is easing, some commodities have significantly higher costs," ISM said. The prices index fell by 1.8 points to 56.3, showing slowing but robust price gains. ISM's manufacturing PMI fell to 48.5 in June from 48.7 in May, ISM reported on 1 July. It was the third consecutive month of contraction and marked a 19th month of contraction in the past 20 months. Wednesday's weaker than expected ISM report, together with a Wednesday report showing initial jobless claims last week rose to their highest in two years, slightly increase the odds that the Federal Reserve may lower its target rate later this year after maintaining it at 23-year highs since last year in an effort to stem inflation. By Bob Willis Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

US House panel advances waterways’ projects bill


27/06/24
News
27/06/24

US House panel advances waterways’ projects bill

Houston, 27 June (Argus) — A Congressional committee on Wednesday advanced a bill to authorize a bundle of US port and river infrastructure projects for the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) biennially authorizes projects handled by the Corps' civil works program aimed at improving shipping operations at the nation's ports and harbors, and along the inland waterway system. The traditionally bipartisan legislation also approves flood and storm programs, and work on other aspects of water resources infrastructure. The House of Representatives' Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday passed the bill by a 61-2 vote. The Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works passed its own version of the bill on 22 May by a 19-0 vote. Neither the full Senate nor House have yet voted on the bills, which will need a conference committee to sort out different versions. A key difference is that the House bill did not include an adjustment to the cost-sharing structure for lock and dam construction and major rehabilitation projects. The Senate measure adjusted the funding mechanism so that 75pc of costs would be paid for by the US Treasury Department's general fund, with the rest coming from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. The 2022 version of the bill made permanent an increase to 65pc from the general fund and 35pc from the trust fund, which is funded by a barge diesel fuel tax. The House committee's decision not to include the funding change drew disappointment from shipping interests. The Waterways Council was "disappointed that the House did not include a provision to modernize the inland waterways system", but was hopeful that conference negotiations would result in its inclusion, Tracy Zea, chief executive of the group, said. The latest House version of the bill authorizes 12 projects and 160 new feasibility studies. Among the projects receiving approval were modifications to the Seagirt Loop Channel near the Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. The federal government would pay $47.9mn towards an estimate $63.9mn project to widen the channel, which would help meet future demand for capacity within the Port of Baltimore. That would include increased container volume at the Seagirt Marine Terminal. The project was in the works before the 26 March collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge temporarily diverted freight from Seagirt and many other port terminals. The committee also authorized $314.25mn towards a resiliency study of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The study would consider hurricane and storm damage and identify ways to improve navigation, reduce the maintenance requirements, and provide resiliency. The waterway connects ports along the Gulf of Mexico from St Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. The House version of the bill also includes provisions to strengthen flood control, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. "Critically, WRDA 2024 will help communities increase resiliency in the face of climate change," representative Rick Larsen (D-WA) said. By Abby Caplan and Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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