Sonatrach takes bitumen tanker under time charter deal

  • Spanish Market: Oil products
  • 04/04/24

Algerian state-owned Sonatrach's Hyproc shipping arm has completed a time charter deal to take 7,645dwt bitumen tanker 3B Destiny from BB Energy Group's trading affiliate 3B Trading for one year, with two further one-year extension options.

The initial one-year deal, starting 1 April, means the 3B Destiny replaces the 7,499dwt Poestella that Sonatrach had been using under a similar time charter arrangement with that vessel's owners, Singapore headquartered shipping firm Bilsea International, since the start of 2021 under a similar annually renewable deal. The tanker has been operating alongside the two Sonatrach-owned and Hyproc-operated bitumen tankers, the Ain Zeft and Ras Tomb, both 4,999dwt.

The Poestella was re-delivered back to its owners at the end of March, and is now being used to move a cargo from Tarragona, Spain, to Antwerp, Belgium, under a so far undisclosed spot or time charter arrangement.

Bitumen shipping market participants said the 3B Destiny deal had probably been agreed at daily rates in a $15,000-16,000 range, applying to the initial one-year time charter period, although the pricing details under the deal have not been disclosed by either counterparty.

Sonatrach's bitumen tankers are usually dedicated to shipping cargoes to the firm's array of Algerian import terminals, helping feed a key Mediterranean market that last year imported just under 617,000t, down from 741,000 in 2022, according to Vortexa data.

After a slow start to Algerian construction activity and bitumen demand this year, the rate of road project work and bitumen import requirements surged last month, with local market participants estimating nearly 80,000t of bitumen in March.

After next week's anticipated halt to most construction work in the country because of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan, activity and demand are set to surge again. The government is pushing to complete road and highway projects in the run-up to presidential elections to be held on 7 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.

Q&A: Marine CO2 goals need culture shift: TotalEnergies


20/05/24
20/05/24

Q&A: Marine CO2 goals need culture shift: TotalEnergies

Amsterdam, 20 May (Argus) — A cultural change in buying behaviour and supply patterns is necessary for the shipping sector to meet its decarbonisation targets and may be the biggest hurdle to overcome, strategy and projects director for TotalEnergies' marine fuels division Frederic Meyer told Argus. Edited highlights follow: What is the biggest challenge standing in the way of the maritime industry in meeting decarbonisation targets and the fuel transition ? A cultural change is required — for decades the maritime sector has relied on by-products with high energy density from the crude refining process such as fuel oil. The industry will now have to pivot its attention towards fuels developed for the purpose of consumption within the maritime industry. This will also require time as the sector looks to level up, and it remains to be seen whether there will be enough time to meet the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)'s net-zero by or around 2050 targets. But we have seen some good progress from cargo owners who are seeking scope 3 emissions related documents. How does TotalEnergies see marine biodiesel demand moving in the short term? In the short term, there is little incentive for the majority of buyers in the market. This is due to a lack of any regulatory mandates, as well as limited impact from existing regulations such as the IMO's carbon intensity indicator (CII) and the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS). Despite providing a zero emission factor incentive for biofuels meeting the sustainability criteria under the EU's Renewable Energy Directive (RED), EU ETS is still on a staggered implementation basis beginning with only 40pc this year, rising to 70pc next year and 100pc in 2026. Further, EU ETS prices have been quite low, which also weighed on financial incentives for marine biodiesel. Therefore, many buyers are currently waiting for further incentives and signals from the regulators before purchasing marine biodiesel blends. Another point impacting demand is the current edition of ISO 8217, which does not provide much flexibility when it comes to marine biodiesel blend percentages and specifications. The new 2024 edition will likely provide greater flexibility for blending percentages, as well as a provision for biodiesel that does not meet EN14214 specifications. This will provide greater flexibility from a supply point of view. However, there remains stable demand from buyers who can pass on the extra costs to their customers. And how do you see this demand fluctuating in the medium to long term? If the other alternative marine fuels, such as ammonia and methanol, that are currently being discussed do not develop at the speed necessary to meet the decarbonisation targets, then marine biodiesel demand will likely be firm. Many in the market have voiced concerns regarding biofuel feedstock competition between marine and aviation, ahead of the implementation of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandates in Europe starting next year. With Argus assessments for SAF at much higher levels than marine biodiesel blends, do you think common feedstocks such as used cooking oil (UCO) will get pulled away from maritime and into aviation? With regards to competition among different industries for the same biofuel feedstock, suppliers may channel their feedstock towards aviation fuels due to the higher non-compliance penalties associated with SAF regulations as opposed to those in marine, which would incentivise greater demand for SAF. An area that can be explored for marine is the by-product when producing SAF, which can amount to up to 30pc of the fuel output. This could potentially feed into a marine biodiesel supply pool. So it's not necessarily the case that the two sectors will battle over the same feedstock if process synergies can be found. Regarding fuel specifications, market participants have told Argus that the lack of a marine-specific fuel standard for alternatives such as marine biodiesel is feeding into uncertainty for buyers who may not be as familiar with biofuels. What impact could this have on demand for marine biodiesel blends from your point of view? Currently, mainstream biodiesel specifications in marine biodiesel blends are derived from other markets such as the EN14214 specification from road diesel engines. But given the large flexibility of a marine engine, there is room to test and try different things. For "unconventional" biofuels that do not meet those road specifications, there needs to be a testing process accompanied by proof of results that showcase its safety for combustion within a marine engine. Some companies may not have the means or capacity to test their biodiesel before taking it into the market. But TotalEnergies always ensures that there are no engine-related issues from fuel combustion. Suppliers need to enact the necessary testing and take on the burden, as cutting out this process may create a negative perception for the product more generally. Traders should also take on some of the burden and test their fuels to ensure they are fully compatible with the engine. With many regulations being discussed, how do you see the risk of regulatory clashes impacting the industry? The simple solution would be an electronic register to trace the chain of custody. In the French markets, often times the proof of sustainability (PoS) papers are stored onto an electronic database once they are retired to the relevant authority. This database is then accessible and viewable by the buyer, and the supplier could also further deliver a "sustainability information letter" which mirrors the details found in the PoS. It is important for the maritime sector to adopt an electronically traceable system. What role could other types of fuels such as pyrolysis oil potentially play in the maritime sector's decarbonisation targets? We have teams in research and development at TotalEnergies which are studying the potential use of other molecules, including but not limited to pyrolysis oil, for usage in the maritime sector. It may become an alternative option to avoid industry clashes, as pyrolysis oil would not be an attractive option to the aviation sector. We are currently exploring tyre-based pyrolysis oil, but have only started doing so recently so it remains an untapped resource. We need to figure out the correct purification and distillation process to ensure compatibility with marine engines. For the time being we are specifically looking at tyre-based pyrolysis oil and not plastic-based, but we may look at the latter in a later stage. The fuel would also have to meet the RED criteria of a 65-70pc greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction compared with conventional fossil fuels, so we are still exploring whether this can be achieved. 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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