Pakistan looks east as Iranian gasoline supply dwindles

  • Spanish Market: Oil products
  • 20/09/21

A recent drop in Iranian gasoline exports has sent ripples through the Mideast Gulf market, forcing major importers such as Pakistan to look to Asia-Pacific for supplies.

Iran's gasoline exports almost ground to a halt in July and August as the country navigated the transition from Hassan Rouhani's government to the new administration of Ebrahim Raisi. A directive from Iran's oil ministry to scale back exports to ensure storage tanks at distribution and export terminals were full ahead of the start of the new administration's term was a key factor. There was also a changing of the guard that saw many companies involved in exporting refined products during the previous government's time in office make way for firms affiliated with the new regime to take on the challenge in the face of sanctions, market sources told Argus.

Prior to the drop in exports this quarter, roughly 300,000-500,000 t/month of Iranian gasoline had been arriving at the UAE ports of Fujairah, Hamriyah and Jebel Ali, according to estimates from traders. After blending, a big chunk of this was being re-exported to Pakistan, but those flows have since declined sharply. "The usual blenders are nowhere to be seen and their tanks are empty," one trader said. "Iranian barrels have not landed in Pakistan since July."

At the same time, overland fuel smuggling from Iran to Pakistan has also become complicated. An average of 20,000 b/d of gasoline was smuggled on this route last year, according to estimates from consultancy FGE. But to prevent illegal trade, Pakistan has now imposed a quota on how many trucks are allowed to cross the border, creating unrest in border communities that have profited from the illegal trade for years. Pakistan is due to complete building a fence along the Iranian border by the end of this year. The two governments signed an initial agreement in April to establish "border markets" to promote legal trade, but it is unclear how such markets would operate.

Pakistan typically relies on imports to meet around 70pc of its gasoline needs. The country imported 440,000t of gasoline in July and 515,000t in August, according to Vortexa. Another 641,000t is expected to arrive this month. But at the same time, imports from the UAE have been dropping significantly — from 339,000t in June to 246,000t in July and 142,000t last month. Just 85,000t is expected in September.

Look east

Suppliers in Asia-Pacific including China have benefited from the decline in Iranian gasoline exports. Pakistan had already emerged as a new outlet for Chinese gasoline following its switch to the oxygenated Euro-5 standard specifications for gasoline on 1 August. Most Chinese gasoline cargoes are oxygenated and low-sulphur, in line with Pakistan's new specification.

The amount of gasoline moving from China to Pakistan has increased since the specification shift, and more cargoes have appeared on shipping fixture lists for September loading, traders said. There have also been rare exports to Pakistan from Singapore, with government agency Enterprise Singapore reporting that 465,000 bl of gasoline was shipped to Pakistan in the week to 15 September.

Pakistan is not the only country being forced to look east for gasoline supplies. Amid unfavourable arbitrage economics to import supply from west of the Suez Canal, Iraq recently awarded a mini-term tender to China's Unipec and Sinochem. Cargoes being pulled out of Singapore and into the Mideast Gulf have lent support to gasoline prices. The Argus 92R gasoline price was at a $7.16/bl premium against Ice Brent crude on 17 September, compared with $6.48/bl on 1 September.


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21/05/24

México compra más gasolina asiática

México compra más gasolina asiática

Mexico City, 21 May (Argus) — México está recurriendo más a la gasolina asiática, complementando las importaciones desde la costa del Golfo de EE. UU. para ayudar a satisfacer alrededor de 60pc de la demanda que la producción doméstica no cubre. PMI, el brazo de comercio internacional de la estatal Pemex, compró inusualmente la semana pasada cuatro cargamentos de gasolina asiática para cargar en mayo, además de un envío que ya había comprado para cargar entre el 20 y el 22 de mayo, lo que llevó el total de cargas asiáticas a cinco en el mes. Las cargas se compraron a una refinería estatal china, una empresa comercial estatal china y una empresa comercial con sede en Suiza, según fuentes del mercado. Como resultado, es probable que cinco cargas de aproximadamente 296,000 bl cada una se dirijan a México en mayo. Se esperaba que Asia enviara solo una carga de gasolina a México en mayo, en comparación con cuatro cargas enviadas en abril debido a un arbitraje cerrado. Pero un incidente en la refinería de Tula de Pemex (315,000 b/d), que produce alrededor de 24pc de la gasolina de la empresa, podría haber influido en la decisión de la empresa de comprar más gasolina asiática. Pemex está trabajando para reiniciar la refinería después de un corte de energía el 13 de mayo, y los trabajos de reparación podrían tardar unas dos semanas, dicen las fuentes. México ha importado gasolina ocasionalmente desde Asia durante varios años, pero PMI se convirtió en un comprador frecuente desde abril de 2023. Los cargamentos de gasolina asiática que llegaron a puertos mexicanos ascienden a 54,000 b/d en mayo, frente a los 3,800 b/d de abril, según los datos de Vortexa. Las importaciones de gasolina asiática de mayo aumentaron en 7pc año con año, según los mismos datos. Durante todo el año 2023, México ingresó 47,000 b/d de gasolina de Asia, además de 18,000 b/d de diésel y 3,000 b/d de turbosina, para un total de 68,000 b/d de importaciones de combustible de Asia, tres veces más que en 2022, muestran los datos de Vortexa. México ha dependido de las importaciones, principalmente de la costa del Golfo de EE.UU., para cubrir parte de su demanda de gasolina desde 1990, pero la cuota de importaciones aumentó exponencialmente a partir de 2006, ya que las refinerías de Pemex no pudieron seguir el ritmo de aumento de la demanda. Las importaciones de gasolina aumentaron de nuevo tras la reforma energética de 2014, que abrió los mercados de combustibles a la inversión del sector privado. Retroceso Pero desde 2019, el país ha vuelto a un entorno más restrictivo para las empresas del sector privado bajo la administración del presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador, que ha realizado inversiones de miles de millones de dólares en las capacidades de refinación de Pemex para alcanzar el ambicioso objetivo de autosuficiencia en gasolina y diésel. Aunque estas inversiones dieron lugar a niveles máximos de ocho años en tasas de rendimiento de las refinerías domesticas de Pemex en marzo, impulsando la disminución de las importaciones de combustible, los participantes del mercado permanecen escépticos de una fuerte caída sostenida en las importaciones de combustible de México. A pesar del aumento en el proceso de crudo de las refinerías, Pemex y las empresas privadas siguen importando 481,000 b/d de gasolina, o 60pc de la demanda de gasolina de México, según los últimos datos de la secretaria de energía. Incluso cuando comience operaciones la nueva refinería Olmeca (340,000 b/d), que enfrenta múltiples retrasos, la creciente demanda y los desafíos operativos en las otras refinerías harán que México continúe dependiendo de las importaciones de combustible. Es probable que las importaciones de combustible de México aumenten en la segunda mitad del año, ya que los inventarios de Pemex tienden a disminuir en junio impulsados por el aumento de la demanda. Dado que las empresas del sector privado y Pemex importan la mayoría de las cargas de gasolina desde la costa del Golfo de EE.UU., se espera que la empresa estatal continúe importando ocasionalmente desde Asia. Las importaciones de combustible asiático representaron aproximadamente entre 7 y 8pc de las importaciones marítimas totales de combustible de México en 2023, y las importaciones desde EE. UU. representaron 78pc del total. Por Antonio Gozain Cargamentos de gasolina asiática enviados a México ’000b/d Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US readies sale of 1mn bl gasoline reserve


21/05/24
21/05/24

US readies sale of 1mn bl gasoline reserve

Washington, 21 May (Argus) — President Joe Biden's administration is requesting bids for a congressionally mandated sale of a 1mn bl gasoline reserve that it says has been "strategically timed" to bring down prices during the peak of the summer driving season. The US Department of Energy (DOE) said the pending sale of the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve will release gasoline blendstocks into the commercial market by no later than 30 June. The sale will consist of 900,000 bl of gasoline in Port Reading, New Jersey, and nearly 99,000 bl of gasoline in South Portland, Maine. Bids for the competitive solicitation will be due no later than noon ET on 28 May. The administration was required to sell off the gasoline reserve, which was created in 2014 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, by no later than 30 September under a bipartisan spending deal signed into law earlier this year. US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm said the administration organized the sale with a goal to bring down prices at the pump. "By strategically releasing this reserve in between Memorial Day and July 4, we are ensuring sufficient supply flows to the tri-state and northeast at a time hardworking Americans need it the most," Granholm said. US regular grade gasoline cost an average of $3.58/USG in the week ending on 20 May, down from a recent weekly high of $3.67/USG reached nearly a month earlier, according to US Energy Information Administration data. Biden administration officials have been paying close attention to fuel prices, which typically carry outsize weight in public perceptions about inflation. The Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve consists of gasoline held in leased commercial storage tanks that is commingled with commercial supplies. Congressional appropriators came to see the reserve as a waste of resources that should be liquidated. The US was spending about $13/bl annually to maintain the reserve even though it was not likely to be effective during an emergency, the US Government Accountability Office said in a 2022 report. By Chris Knight Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

ScanOcean to supply MGO-HVO blend in Sweden


21/05/24
21/05/24

ScanOcean to supply MGO-HVO blend in Sweden

London, 21 May (Argus) — Swedish bunker firm ScanOcean will supply a B30 marine biodiesel blend made of marine gasoil (MGO) and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) by truck at all Swedish ports. The B30 blend will comprise 70pc MGO and 30pc HVO and meet ISO 8217:2017 MGO specifications, according to ScanOcean. The biofuel component will not contain any fatty acid methyl ester (Fame) and the blend will reportedly be accompanied by ISCC-EU certification and a proof of sustainability (PoS) document. ScanOcean added that they will supply the physical blend but that the HVO component will be sourced from the EU. The B30 blend will achieve a 25pc reduction of CO2 emissions on a well-to-wake basis when compared with conventional MGO, according to the Swedish supplier. By Hussein Al-Khalisy Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Iraq’s Somo issues first gasoil export tender


21/05/24
21/05/24

Iraq’s Somo issues first gasoil export tender

Dubai, 21 May (Argus) — Iraq's state-owned Somo issued its first gasoil export tender, likely because additional volumes are coming from its new 140,000 b/d Karbala refinery. Somo is offering 82,000t (612,000 bl) of 500ppm sulphur gasoil over a three-month period from the date of signing the deal, with an option to extend the agreement upon Somo's approval. Somo indicates gasoil is to load from North Company refineries. The bids are to be submitted by 26 May. This is the very first gasoil export tender issued by Somo as historically Iraq has been heavily dependent on gasoil imports to satisfy its domestic demand. Market participants suggest Iraq can now afford to export gasoil because it has ramped up its new 140,000 b/d Karbala refinery south of Baghdad. Karbala refinery began commercial operations in April last year and primarily supplies oil products to domestic market, but in doing so it creates gasoil surplus in the northern part of the country. Iraq has also recently reopened its 150,000 b/d North refinery — part of Iraq's largest downstream facility the 290,000 b/d Baiji complex. The refinery was running at around 70,000 b/d in March, according to market sources. Additional production potentially caused Iraq to stop importing gasoil this year. Iraq's gasoil imports dropped to zero in February and March, show the latest data from Joint Organisations Data Initiative (Jodi). This is compared with around 24,500 b/d gasoil imports in 2023. By Ieva Paldaviciute Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US Supreme Court urged to resolve split over RFS


20/05/24
20/05/24

US Supreme Court urged to resolve split over RFS

Washington, 20 May (Argus) — Biofuel groups are asking the US Supreme Court to wade into a high-stakes legal fight that could decide whether some small refineries are eligible for federal exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, in a legal appeal filed today, argue that a wave of lawsuits that refiners have filed against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a 2022 policy that denied all pending small refinery exemptions should be consolidated before a single federal court, rather than heard in multiple courts that could reach "inconsistent" rulings. The biofuels groups argue that because the policy was nationally applicable, the Clean Air Act requires all of the refinery industry's lawsuits to be heard before the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in a ruling six months ago, reached the opposite conclusion in a case filed by six small refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma. The 5th Circuit said because the "legal effect" of the refinery exemption denials were in the states where the refineries are located, the consolidation requirements do not apply. The court then proceeded to throw out EPA's denial of exemptions for the six refineries. The biofuels groups say the Supreme Court should intervene in the case to reverse the 5th Circuit, which would consolidate all of the refinery litigation over the 2022 policy in the DC Circuit. Doing so would avoid "duplicative litigation" under which multiple federal courts would rule on the validity of the exact same EPA action, potentially meaning different refineries would be subject to different rules "depending solely on their location." Biofuel groups say small refinery exemptions are "inherently national" because if one is granted, it affects renewable fuel blending across the US. The 5th Circuit is the only court that has agreed to hear the small refinery exemption lawsuits. Four other federal appeals courts have already concluded the cases should be heard by the DC Circuit, which last month held arguments in consolidated litigation over EPA's blanket denial of 105 pending requests for small refinery "hardship" exemptions from the RFS. The biofuels groups say their appeal has ramifications beyond the RFS. The appeal is an "ideal vehicle" for the Supreme Court to resolve where lawsuits involving the Clean Air Act should be heard, an issue that is also present in litigation over EPA's "good neighbor" air emission regulations that are currently being heard by the Supreme Court. By Chris Knight Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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