USGC LNG-VLSFO discount to steady itself

  • Spanish Market: Natural gas, Oil products
  • 23/04/24

The premium for US Gulf coast (USGC) very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) to LNG is expected to linger but not widen this spring, maintaining interest in LNG as a bunkering fuel.

US Gulf coast LNG prices slipped from a premium to a discount to VLSFO in March 2023 and have remained there since. The discount surpassed 200/t VLSFO-equivalent in January (see chart). Both LNG and VLSFO prices are expected to remain under downward pressure due to high inventories, which could keep the current LNG discount steady.

The US winter natural gas withdrawal season ended with 39pc more natural gas in storage compared with the five-year average, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Henry Hub natural gas monthly average prices dropped below $2/mmBtu in February, for the first time since September 2020, Argus data showed. The EIA expects the US will produce less natural gas on average in the second and third quarter of 2024 compared with the first quarter of 2024. Despite lower production, the US will have the most natural gas in storage on record when the winter withdrawal season begins in November, says the EIA. As a result, the agency forecasts the Henry Hub spot price to average less than $2/mmBtu in the second quarter before "increasing slightly" in the third quarter. EIA's forecast for all of 2024 averages about $2.20/mmBtu.

US Gulf coast VLSFO is facing downward price pressure as demand falls and increased refinery activity signals a potential supply build. Rising Gulf coast refinery activity was likely behind some of the drop in prices. Gulf coast refinery utilization last week rose to 91.4pc, the highest in 12 weeks and up by 0.9 percentage points from the prior week. US Gulf coast suppliers are also eyeing strong fuel oil price competition from eastern hemisphere ports such as Singapore and Zhoushan, China, importing cheap Russian residual fuel oil.

In general, LNG's substantial discount to VLSFO has kept interest in LNG for bunkering from ship owners with LNG-burning vessels high. The EIA discontinued publishing US bunker sales statistics with the last data available for 2020. But data from the Singapore Maritime & Port Authority, where the LNG–VLSFO discount widened to over $200/t VLSFOe in February, showed Singapore LNG for bunkering demand increase 11.4 times to 75,900t in the first quarter compared with 6,700t in the first quarter of 2023 and 110,900t for full year 2022.

US Gulf coast LNG vs VLSFO $/t VLSFOe

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19/06/24

Gas necessary for Asia, unwise not to invest: Summit

Gas necessary for Asia, unwise not to invest: Summit

Singapore, 19 June (Argus) — Asia's LNG market faces many uncertainties, but not continuing to invest in it would be unwise as it is necessary for economic growth, said speakers at the Association of Energy Negotiators' International Energy Summit in Bangkok, Thailand last week. Many countries are increasingly focusing on batteries and renewables as part of their energy transition plans to move away from fossil fuels, but batteries are still far from being commercially attractive from a cost perspective, said Andrew Kirk, vice-president of origination, LNG at conglomerate B Grimm. Batteries may be able to provide a stable solution to the intermittency challenges posed by renewables in some regions, but wealthier countries are failing to acknowledge that developing countries cannot accept the higher costs involved, as well as the massively daunting task of building and installing the required capacity, he said. "We have to separate the aspirational from the unachievable," said Kirk. There is already instability resulting from gas shortages even in more developed economies such as Australia, where the Australian Energy Market Operator has projected a shortage in southern states. The federal government has confirmed the need for a pro-upstream approach in its future gas strategy , and intends to bring on line new gas supplies and make them affordable during the transition. "The timeline we have given ourselves is starting to look disorderly," said Kirk, with reference to net zero targets. Advancements and breakthroughs in battery technology will be made, but the timeframe for this cannot be defined. If policymakers do not consider reversing declining gas production, the next 10-15 years will create more geopolitical uncertainty, he said. Billions of dollars have been spent on current energy systems, said Steve Morrell, senior vice-president of ExxonMobil PNG LNG, adding that it would make more sense to put more gas into the system considering the higher cost of moving to renewables, he added. "Just by replacing coal [with gas], we'll see a 60pc decrease in emissions without any need for breakthrough technologies." said Morrell. If too much emphasis is placed on renewable energy, this will also lead to declining investment in finding new oil and gas resources, said the executive director of the Petroleum Institute of Thailand, Kurujit Nakornthap, which could lead to energy shortages and more volatile energy prices. "The stone age [ended] not because we ran out of stone, so the oil age is not going to [end] because we're running out of oil," said Nakornthap, paraphrasing a famous quote by ex-Saudi oil minister Sheikh Zaki Yamani. Challenges faced by buyers, sellers Gas projects are already at risk of not receiving funding because the current LNG market outlook is unclear, with short-term price volatility, rolling blackouts, power reduction, and uncertainty in supply affecting buyers and sellers, said Morrell. The whole system is very tight at the moment, added Morrell, and alleviating this is dependent on customers, suppliers and governments as LNG is fundamental to global prosperity. But as a buyer, it is difficult to commit to multi-billion dollar long-term sales and purchase agreements (SPAs) when it is uncertain what the regulatory framework is going to be for the next 5-15 years. The tightness in supply indicates a need for more LNG, which in turn implies there is a need for more projects requiring multi-million dollar investments and that are looking for 20-year offtakes. Gas projects need 4-5 years of construction time and can produce for about 20 years. With an uncertain demand outlook and no buyers to take the product, investment decisions cannot be made and projects cannot get off the ground, said Morrell. "Customers are searching for price signals and trying to plan ahead," said Morrell. But he questioned "if they can't plan six months ahead, how are they going to know 15-20 years ahead?" The changing LNG model Buyers also cannot commit to long-term projects if they cannot predict what the energy transition entails, if certain fuels or greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity reductions get mandated, and how that will change the LNG business model. "The [LNG] market is always changing," said Morrell, with the introduction of carbon pricing to encourage GHG reductions creating further uncertainty for buyers and sellers. There are three areas within the current LNG model that will evolve, said Kirk. There are going to be many new buyers in emerging markets as they turn to LNG as a transition fuel. Secondly, the affordability of low-emission LNG may be an issue because some markets are unable to afford the extra costs when they are struggling to even move from a coal to gas-based market. Thirdly, SPAs will evolve and contracts must change to become more flexible. So buyers and sellers need to "act in good faith", said Kirk. But governments and regulators can slow down developments, which can be frustrating for suppliers, said Morrell. There needs to be a realisation that the consumer is paying for incentives and subsidies that the government provides, he said, adding that discussions should move away from 3–5-year political cycles and look at 20 years in the future. By Prethika Nair Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Phillips 66 targets high Rodeo runs


18/06/24
18/06/24

Phillips 66 targets high Rodeo runs

Houston, 18 June (Argus) — Low-carbon feedstock and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) opportunities will support strong run rates from Phillips 66's converted renewables plant in Rodeo, California, this year, chief executive Mark Lashier said today. The outlook heralded a high output from the converted Rodeo refinery ramping up toward 50,000 b/d of renewable diesel capacity by the end of this month, despite historic lows in state and federal incentives for the fuel. "Where we are today, economically, yes, the credits are kind of compressed, but feedstocks are lower than we anticipated as well," Lashier told the JP Morgan Energy, Power & Renewables conference. "We still see good economic incentives to run and run full." The US independent refiner had started up pre-treatment units at the plant to begin processing lower-carbon feedstocks for renewable diesel in July and August, he said, consistent with previous guidance. "That's how you really make money in these assets — you get the lowest-carbon intensity feedstocks at the best value and process them through the hydrocrackers," Lashier said. " The facility would also bring online 10,000 b/d of renewable jet fuel blendstock production supporting 20,000 b/d of blended sustainable aviation fuel, a product Phillips 66 had not targeted in the initial concept for the site, he said. Both state and federal incentives to supply renewable diesel along the west coast have fallen as the fuel inundates those markets. Renewable diesel alone made up roughly 57pc of California's liquid diesel pool and generated 40pc of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits in the state's market-based transportation fuel carbon reduction program by the end of last year. The supply of lower-carbon fuels, led by renewable diesel, to the west coast LCFS markets have outstripped demand for deficit-generating petroleum fuels and led to growing reserves of available credits for compliance. California amassed more than 23mn metric tonnes of credits by the end of last year — more than enough left over after satisfying all of the new deficits generated last year to offset them a second time. The volume of unused credits has sent their price tumbling to nine-year lows. Oregon and Washington credits, which are needed for similar but distinct programs in those states, have similarly dropped as renewable diesel supplies spread out along the west coast. Gasoline consumption generates almost all new deficits in California. Year-over-year demand for the fuel nationwide has fallen below expectations this spring, Lashier said. "We are not really seeing things pick up like a lot of us expected to," he said. Lower-income customers struggling with higher costs on everything they buy may have forgone vacations, he said. The drop in broader buying power meanwhile had rippled through diesel consumption, he said. "As we move towards more expensive energy sources, that's the part of the economy that gets squeezed as well," Lashier said. "Hopefully we move through that and reverse and that part of the economy can pick up as well as the higher end of the economy." By Elliott Blackburn Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US asphalt imports to Brazil reach 5-year high


18/06/24
18/06/24

US asphalt imports to Brazil reach 5-year high

Sao Paulo, 18 June (Argus) — Brazilian asphalt imports from the US reached their highest level in the past decade in May after drier weather and competitive prices boosted demand. The US was the largest source of Brazilian asphalt imports in May, contributing to nearly 12,000 metric tonnes (t) or 61pc of all imports, according to Siscomex import and export data. The last time Brazil imported so much from the US was in January 2023, when 10,800t arrived at Brazilian ports. In April, the US Gulf's premium over Mediterranean asphalt reached its narrowest point in 2024 at about $7/st, which can explain why imports rose in May. Precipitation levels were also 60pc lower in some regions of the country during April and May, according to Brazil's National Meteorology Institute, which boosted paving projects. Total asphalt imports in Brazil increased by almost 10 times in May compared with April. Asphalt imports totaled 19,50052 t in May, which is 28pc higher compared with May 2023. Imports from January to May were almost 80,000t, 46pc more than the same period in 2023. This is because of municipal elections in October, which results in more road projects to appeal to voters. Russia was the source for around 5,30250t of asphalt imports in May. Most Russian imports tend to be polymer modified asphalt (PMA), a dry bulk product that costs on average 15pc more than liquid asphalt because of the energy costs required to reheat it to a liquid state. Although it costs more, solid asphalt is used as an alternative in markets without the infrastructure to receive and store liquid asphalt, such as in southern Brazil. By Julio Viana Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Tropical storm warning for South Texas coast: Update


18/06/24
18/06/24

Tropical storm warning for South Texas coast: Update

Updates with closure of Galveston, Texas City ports. New York, 18 June (Argus) — A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of south Texas and northeastern Mexico, bringing with it the risk of heavy rainfall and flooding. The warning is in effect for the Texas coast from Port O'Connor south to the mouth of the Rio Grande, as well as the northeastern coast of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center. "The disturbance is very large with rainfall, coastal flooding, and wind impacts likely to occur far from the center along the coasts of Texas and northeastern Mexico," the center said overnight. Maximum sustained winds this morning remained near 40 mph and the disturbance is forecast to become a tropical storm by Wednesday. The system has been classified as a potential tropical cyclone by the center since it has not yet become better organized, but is expected to become the first named storm system of the year by early Wednesday. The port of Corpus Christi in South Texas and the Houston Ship Channel remained open as of Tuesday morning, but the nearby ports of Galveston and Texas City closed to inbound and outbound shipping traffic at 10pm ET Monday due to heavy weather, the US Coast Guard said. The system was expected to disrupt ship-to-ship transfer operations off the Texas coast as of Monday evening because of heavy seas. In the Gulf of Mexico, the transfer typically is from an Aframax or Suezmax onto a very large crude carrier (VLCC) at designated lightering zones near Corpus Christi, Galveston and Beaumont-Port Arthur. Prolonged lightering delays can prevent crude tanker tonnage from becoming available and exert upward pressure on freight rates, while also adding to demurrage fees. The storm is expected to turn towards the west-northwest and west tonight and Wednesday, with the system forecast to approach the western Gulf coast late Wednesday, the NHC said. Rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches are seen across northeast Mexico into South Texas, with maximum totals of 15 inches possible. Flash and urban flooding are likely to follow with river flooding. By Stephen Cunningham and Tray Swanson Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Нефтетранспорт - НАП: спрос на автоперевозки битума растет


18/06/24
18/06/24

Нефтетранспорт - НАП: спрос на автоперевозки битума растет

Moscow, 18 June (Argus) — Отгрузки битумных вяжущих, по прогнозу Национальной ассоциации перевозчиков (НАП), в текущем году останутся примерно на уровне 2023 г. Но в целом наблюдается рост транспортировки битумных материалов автомобильным транспортом при снижении отгрузки железнодорожным транспортом. Об изменениях в этом сегменте транспортировки, о проблемах, с которыми сталкиваются перевозчики, и об удорожании поставок рассказал Argus президент НАП Андрей Белов. — Как изменилась логистика грузовых автоперевозок российских темных нефтепродуктов, в частности битума, за последние несколько лет? — Тенденции, которые наблюдались в 2022 г., продолжились и в прошлом, и в этом году. Одной из них является крайне незначительное поступление техники и запчастей европейских производителей, теперь основные поставки грузовиков и комплектующих в Россию осуществляются из Китая. Другой особенностью является увеличение среднего плеча доставки битума и полимерно-битумных вяжущих (ПБВ). Если в 2022 г. среднее расстояние транспортировки продукта по России составляло 225 км в одну сторону, то в 2023 г. это значение увеличилось до 420 км. В качестве еще одной тенденции нужно выделить рост поставок битума и его модификаций автотранспортом и неуклонное снижение объемов железнодорожных отгрузок. С одной стороны, это связано с дефицитом вагонов для перевозки нефтяных грузов, а с другой — с развитием нефтебаз и битумных терминалов: объем может быть поставлен сначала на нефтебазу или терминал, а затем уже конечному покупателю, и для таких перевозок гораздо удобнее задействовать автотранспорт. Кроме того, потребители чаще всего отдают предпочтение автоперевозкам, когда нужно получить продукт при определенной температуре, чтобы сразу задействовать его в производстве. — Каков прогноз автоперевозок битума на этот год? — Мы ожидаем, что объем перевозок битума и его модификаций автомобильным транспортом в этом году будет в диапазоне 7,6—8 млн т, как и в прошлом году. Стоит отметить, что соотношение поставок автомобильным и железнодорожным транспортом по итогам 2023 г. составило 91% к 9%, тогда как несколькими годами ранее пропорция была 85% к 15%. — Рынок автоперевозок уже несколько лет сталкивается с нехваткой водительского состава. Какие пути решения данной проблемы вы видите? — Все определяется общей демографической ситуацией в стране. В профессии водитель в России работают мужчины, средний возраст которых составляет 55 лет. Привлечь молодые кадры крайне сложно из-за того, что исторически сложилось, что в прошедший период 30—35 лет эта профессия не считалась престижной. От года к году проблема нехватки водителей усугубляется. В отдельных компаниях из-за дефицита водительского состава простаивает 10—15% парка. Пути решения проблемы крайне ограниченны, одним из способов является увеличение заработной платы. Ежемесячная ставка на сцепку для экипажа из двух водителей в зависимости от региона составляет от 200 000 до 300 000 руб. Зарплата делится пропорционально рабочему времени, как правило, 15 дней в месяце работает один водитель и столько же другой, либо рабочие дни распределяются в соотношении 20 к 10, а в следующем месяце водители экипажа меняются графиками. Проблема сегмента перевозки битума, относящегося к транспортировке опасных грузов, заключается еще и в том, что стаж вождения водителя грузового транспортного средства должен составлять не менее 1 года. Водитель должен также пройти дополнительное обучение, по итогам которого получить допуск к перевозке опасных грузов. В настоящее время многие компании стараются привлечь водителей из других сегментов перевозок за счет покрытия расходов на обучение. — Как сейчас обстоят дела с обновлением автопарка после ухода с рынка западных производителей? Что с запчастями? — В 2022 г. различные компании активно закупали у дилеров транспортные средства европейского производства за счет скопившихся запасов, а также начали тестировать технику из Китая. Обновление и расширение перевозчиками парков в 2023 г. продолжилось за счет китайских грузовиков: их опыт эксплуатации в России небольшой, мнения по поводу качества и то, как они ведут себя на дороге, совершенно разные. В настоящее время в парках транспортных компаний, которые входят в НАП, преобладают грузовики европейского производства возрастом до пяти-семи лет, доля которых составляет 90—95%. Касаемо рынка запчастей можно сказать следующее: компании-перевозчики получают детали по программе параллельного импорта, используют аналоговые запчасти, а также продлевают срок службы узлов и агрегатов, которые критически не влияют на безопасность грузоперевозки. — Как формируются тарифы для отгрузок грузов автотранспортом? Как они изменились по сравнению с прошлым годом? — Тарифы активно растут в последние несколько лет. Стоимость транспортировки в 2023 г. увеличилась на 10% относительно 2022 г. В этом году тарифы повышались уже несколько раз. Исходя из макроэкономической ситуации в стране мы ожидаем, что автоперевозки подорожают и в 2025 г. в среднем на 15%, а в 2026 г. — на 10%. — Какие точки роста грузовой базы вы видите в России и в странах ближнего зарубежья и Азии? — Перевозки объемов в страны ближнего зарубежья и Азии зависят от внутреннего потребления в России и носят выраженный сезонный характер: в зимний период поставки автотранспортом менее востребованы, а в летние месяцы на экспортных маршрутах всегда не хватает парка, в том числе из-за ожидания в прохождении пограничных переходов, а такими перевозками занимается ограниченный круг компаний. Пока мы видим, что производство битума в России остается примерно на том же уровне, что и в прошлом году, а выпуск ПБВ растет. Значительного увеличения внутрироссийских автоперевозок и отгрузок на экспорт мы не ожидаем. НАП Национальная ассоциация перевозчиков (НАП) начала свою деятельность с марта 2021 г. на базе Национальной ассоциации перевозчиков нефтепродуктов (НАП НП) и объединяет более 40 автотранспортных компаний, отгружающих темные и светлые нефтепродукты и другие грузы. По итогам прошлого года компании, входящие в НАП, перевезли около 4,5 млн т битума. Основными задачами НАП являются консолидация и помощь перевозчикам в организации рабочего процесса, сокращение расходов транспортных компаний и защита их интересов. Андрей Белов Родился в июле 1963 г. в Куйбышевской области. В период 1980—2000 гг. проходил службу в Вооруженных силах СССР и России. В 2000—2017 гг. работал в группе компаний Юникойл, специализирующейся на производстве, хранении и отгрузках нефтепродуктов, где прошел путь от специалиста до генерального директора одной из дочерних структур. С 2017 г. по февраль 2021 г. работал в НАП НП. С марта 2021 г. — президент НАП. Вы можете присылать комментарии по адресу или запросить дополнительную информацию feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Группа Argus Media . Все права защищены.

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