Baltimore bridge collapse to raise retail fuel prices

  • Spanish Market: Crude oil, Oil products
  • 27/03/24

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, is more likely to increase regional gasoline prices than diesel due to additional freight costs and certain route restrictions.

Suppliers in the region have so far signaled that the effect on broader markets will be minimal, but regional prices will likely rise, especially as peak summer demand season begins with Memorial Day weekend in late May.

The bridge closure could pose more problems for gasoline supply than diesel, since gasoline cannot be transported through the Fort McHenry (I-95) and Baltimore Harbor (I-895) tunnels — the two other major roads that cross the Patapsco River at Baltimore — while there are no restrictions on diesel, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA).

Fuel wholesaler Global Partners said yesterday that it would like to see hours of service waivers for trucking in the region to minimize fuel supply disruption to customers, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is yet to issue one.

Elevated retail prices are likely to be limited to the immediate Baltimore area but could spill over into neighboring markets should trucking markets remain tight due to rerouting, market sources told Argus.

Fuel markets in eastern Maryland can be supplied by PBF's 171,000 b/d Delaware City, Delaware, refinery and two further plants in Pennsylvania — Monroe Energy's 190,000 b/d Trainer refinery and PBF's 160,000 b/d Paulsboro refinery.

To the north, United Refining runs a 65,000 b/d plant in Warren, Pennsylvania, and along the Atlantic coast Phillips 66 operates the 259,000 b/d Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey.

PBF, Monroe and United did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the bridge collapse is affecting refinery operations. Phillips 66 declined to comment on commercial activities.

Still, the five nearby refineries — representing all the Atlantic coast's 850,000 b/d of crude processing capacity — are unlikely to see their operations curtailed by limits in shipping products to Maryland.

With no refinery in the state of Maryland, most fuels are delivered to Baltimore by Gulf coast refiners on the Colonial Pipeline.

Global Partners, which operates a terminal just west of the collapsed bridge, said yesterday it is primarily supplied by the pipeline and expects product flows to continue.

Several terminals in the Baltimore Harbor and the nearby Port Salisbury can also receive small vessels and barges of road fuels from Delaware and Pennsylvania, according to the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).

The Port of Baltimore — which remains closed since the collapse — took delivery of 24,000 b/d of gasoline and under 2,000 b/d of distillates from barges and small vessels in 2019, about three percent of the Atlantic coast's refining capacity.

"A closure of the Port of Baltimore while the Colonial Pipeline is open would not significantly disrupt fuel supply," the MEA wrote in a 2022 analysis of liquid fuels supply in the state.


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22/05/24

US WTI crude flows to India climb in April

US WTI crude flows to India climb in April

Singapore, 22 May (Argus) — Improved arbitrage economics and firmer demand for petrochemical feedstocks helped boost exports of naphtha-rich US WTI crude to India in April to its highest level in nearly a year, according to vessel tracking data. Around 208,000 b/d of light sweet WTI departed the US Gulf Coast for India in April, preliminary data from global trade analytics platform Kpler and Vortexa show. The shipments are to discharge at various Indian ports mostly in June, although the vessels' final destinations are still subject to change. The April volumes were higher compared with India-bound exports in March at an average of about 159,000 b/d and the highest monthly shipments of WTI from the US to India since May 2023, according to Kpler and Vortexa. Indian refiners had stepped up their purchases of WTI in recent months as prices for the grade on a delivered basis were deemed competitive compared with comparable alternatives such as Abu Dhabi light sour Murban crude, sources close to international trading firms and Indian refiners told Argus. Weak European demand as a result of refinery turnarounds had weighed on April-loading WTI prices, prompting other Asian refiners like China's state-controlled Sinopec to also buy June-delivery cargoes. The increase in WTI flows to India follow Indian refiners shunning light sweet ESPO Blend and Sokol crude from far east Russia earlier this year because of tightening US sanctions, prompting refiners to consider other alternative grades of similar quality. While Indian refiners have resumed purchases of ESPO Blend and Sokol crude loading in May and June following weaker demand from the grade's usual buyers in China, WTI exports to India remain steady. State-controlled Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) has signed a deal with BP to buy 1mn bl/month of WTI for four months starting in June, while preliminary data from Kpler and Vortexa show that more than 210,000 b/d of WTI has already departed for India in the first half of this month. Petrochemical push WTI is appealing for Indian refiners as the grade has a higher yield of naphtha, a key petrochemical feedstock, than other options such as Murban and west African crude, with Indian refiners looking to increase their petrochemical output. Naphtha comprises roughly 35pc of WTI's product yield, while Murban has a higher yield of gasoil and jet-kerosine than WTI. Despite Murban prices also coming under pressure as a result of Abu Dhabi's state-owned Adnoc diverting more of its heavier Upper Zakum crude to the domestic Ruwais refinery and freeing up more Murban for exports , Indian refiners prefer to import WTI for its high naphtha yields, market participants said. Firmer domestic demand has cut India's naphtha exports, with Indian refiners keeping larger volumes for use as a petrochemical feedstock. India's naphtha exports in 2023 were around 126,000 b/d (5.15mn t), down by about 17pc from average exports of 151,000 b/d in 2022, according to oil ministry data. Indian state-controlled refiners have instead focused on expanding their refining capacity , with a view to increase their diversification into petrochemicals to meet export demand. Most state-controlled refiners plan new petrochemical capacity.BPCL's expansion of its 156,000 b/d Bina refinery to 220,000 b/d will feature a new chemicals complex and produce more petrochemical products like ethylene and propylene. Hindustan Petroleum is aiming to commission an integrated petrochemical complex at its new 180,000 b/d Barmer refinery in 2025. By Sathya Narayanan and Roshni Devi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

México compra más gasolina asiática


21/05/24
21/05/24

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.

Asia demand lifts US VLCC rates to 4-month high


21/05/24
21/05/24

Asia demand lifts US VLCC rates to 4-month high

Houston, 21 May (Argus) — Rates for 2mn bl very large crude carriers (VLCCs) on the US Gulf coast reached four-month highs on 17 May amid elevated Asia-Pacific demand for US crude, especially in China. The rate to ship 270,000t of crude from the US Gulf coast to China, including $250,000 Corpus Christi, Texas, load-port fees, climbed by 11.6pc from 7-17 May to $10.1mn lumpsum, or $4.85/bl for WTI, the highest level since 12 January, according to Argus data. A surge of demand in the first half of May reduced tonnage in the Atlantic basin as Chinese refiners eye the end of a heavy refinery maintenance season . Over that span, the time-charter equivalent (TCE) rate, which reflects daily earnings for shipowners, for a scrubber-fitted VLCC hauling crude from Corpus Christi to Ningbo, China, increased by about $9,150/d to $50,613/d, according to Argus data. Similarly, the US Gulf coast-Rotterdam VLCC rate on 17 May matched its highest level since 11 January, reaching $4.95mn lumpsum, or $2.38/bl for WTI, including load-port fees, after Asia-Pacific demand limited the amount of VLCCs available for shipments to Europe. The rally comes amid rising onshore inventories of crude in China. Stocks increased to 924mn bl in the week ended 19 May, the most in nearly five months, according to data from analytics firm Vortexa. "An expected increase in refinery utilization during the third quarter justifies inventory building during (the second quarter), while the current import trend and ongoing refinery maintenance may imply less sharp inventory builds during May-June compared to last year," shipbroker BRS said. Last year, Chinese inventories of crude shot up to 1.02bn bl at the end of July from about 925mn bl at the end of April, Vortexa data show. A slower pace of inventory builds may create a less volatile environment for VLCCs compared to last year, BRS said. By Tray Swanson 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.

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