Marine fuel global weekly market update

  • : Biofuels, E-fuels, Emissions, Hydrogen, Natural gas, Oil products, Petrochemicals
  • 24/02/20

A weekly Argus news digest of interest to the conventional and alternative marine fuel markets. To speak to our team about accessing the stories below and access to Argus Marine Fuels, please contact

Alternative marine fuels

16 February CMA CGM takes first of 10 LNG-fueled vessels France-based shipping company CMA CGM will take delivery of the first of a series of 10 LNG-fueled container ships this month.

16 February Egypt to load 8-10 more LNG cargoes by end-winter: Eni Egypt could load 8-10 more LNG cargoes "before the end of the winter season", Eni said today.

16 February South Korean refiners opt to co-process biofuels A lack of regional mandates and retreating European demand for hydrotreated biofuels this year has pushed back timelines for new capacity start-ups in Asia-Pacific, driving South Korean refiners to favour co-processing rather than standalone biofuel plants.

15 February WSC proposes fossil-green fuel price gap close The World Shipping Council (WSC) proposed a green balance mechanism to close the price gap between conventional and sustainable marine fuels.

15 February Singapore LNG bunker sales at 5-month high Singapore LNG bunker sales reached a five-month high in January, according to data from Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), driven by competitive prices compared with conventional marine fuel.

15 February Lake Charles Methanol to build $3.2bn low-CO2 plant Lake Charles Methanol II announced plans to build a $3.2bn plant that will produce low-carbon intensity methanol and other chemicals at the Port of Lake Charles.

15 February Singapore LNG bunker sales at 5-month high Singapore LNG bunker sales reached a five-month high in January, according to data from Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), driven by competitive prices compared with conventional marine fuel.

15 February Maritime sector most promising for H2 in transport: HE The maritime sector provides most opportunities for use of hydrogen-based synthetic fuels in the transport sector, according to a survey carried out by industry body Hydrogen Europe.

15 February JBS says its B100 biodiesel has same yield as diesel Global meat producer JBS said that its 100pc biodiesel fuel (B100) — unblended biodiesel — has an energy efficiency equivalent to diesel and emits up to 80pc less carbon dioxide, based on tests on one of its trucks.

15 February Off-spec bio-blends widen pricing spread The range of prices for marine biodiesel blends in Europe has widened as cheaper product that does not meet the region's diesel engine specifications — as defined by the European EN14214 standard — gains market share.

15 February China turns to domestic ammonia output boost Increased domestic production capacity and weaker downstream industrial demand has the potential to weigh on China's ammonia imports this year.

15 February Mabanaft to build green methanol plant in Australia Hamburg-based Mabanaft has received approval to build a new green methanol plant in Port Augusta, located in southern Australia.

14 February Emerging LNG markets to absorb extra supply: Shell Emerging gas markets in China, southeast and south Asia will absorb much of the increase in LNG supply for the rest of this and the next decade, having been constrained by high prices in 2022-23, Shell said in its global LNG outlook, published today.

14 February Avoid offsets, ETS for carbon removals: Study Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) activities should be promoted for the "right reasons" and at the "right scale", and should not be financed through carbon offset credits or included in emissions trading systems (ETS), according to a recent study by the Institute for Responsible Carbon Removal at American University.

14 February Indonesia ammonia production at risk of curtailments Indonesian ammonia producers could be forced to consider production curtailments or outages if southeast Asian loading prices fall much further.

14 February More than 100 US biogas plants to start up in 2024 The American Biogas Council said 96 new biogas projects with a combined production capacity of 66,000 ft³/minute (9.82bn m³/yr) became operational in the US in 2023. It expects over 100 more to start up this year and said output from these will mostly be used for transportation fuel instead of power production.

14 February Chinese yard advances 271,000m³ LNG carrier orders French engineering firm Gaztransport and Technigaz (GTT) has received an order for eight 271,000m³ LNG tanks from a Chinese shipyard, with delivery of the vessels to be fitted with the tanks scheduled between the second quarter of 2028 and fourth quarter of 2029, GTT said.

14 February SE Asian UCO sees limited hit from US fast-food boycott A consumer boycott on US fast food outlets in support of Palestine is affecting some Indonesian and Malaysian used cooking oil (UCO) supplies, but market participants said the overall impact should be limited.

13 February Carnival commissions new LNG-fueled vessel US cruise ship operator Carnival has ordered a newbuild dual-fuel LNG-powered vessel for delivery in spring 2027.

13 February US House readies vote to end LNG review pause President Joe Biden's temporary pause on the review of new US LNG export facilities could face its first congressional test with a vote on a Republican-backed bill that would eliminate federal licensing of those projects.

13 February LNG carrier declares for Greece's Alexandroupolis The TotalEnergies-chartered 174,000m³ Gaslog Hong Kong has declared for arrival at Greece's new 4.3mn t/yr Alexandroupolis import terminal on 15 February, and could deliver the facility's first cargo.

13 February EU hydrogen plan relies on uncertain imports: T&E The EU should not rely on uncertain imports to meet its overly-ambitious hydrogen targets, says a study commissioned by the Brussels-based climate group Transport & Environment (T&E).

12 February Red Sea issues impact European methanol, derivatives Volatility in shipping markets following attacks in the Red Sea is impacting Europe's methanol market indirectly through higher freight rates and has directly impacted European derivative markets, as a result of reduced vessel availability and rerouting.

12 February Qatar taps Nakilat for second phase LNG fleet expansion State-owned QatarEnergy has selected Qatari state-controlled shipowner Nakilat for the ownership and operation of 25 174,000m³ LNG carriers, to be built at an unnamed shipyard in South Korea.

12 February SBTi validates Maersk's GHG emission reduction targets Danish shipping firm Moller-Maersk has become the first company to have its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets validated under new maritime guidance from the UN-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

12 February Spanish independent biodiesel producers under pressure Smaller Spanish biodiesel producers remain under pressure from thin margins that are cutting profits and shutting in some output. They are not being supported by domestic demand, which fell to a seven-year low in 2023.

12 February Mabanaft to apply for ammonia import terminal permit German energy trading firm Mabanaft expects to submit a permit application for its planned 1.2mn t/yr ammonia import terminal at Hamburg in the spring of this year.

Alternative marine fuels

16 February Fujairah bunker premiums weaken as ships reroute Delivered bunker premiums have fallen in Fujairah, UAE, the world's third largest bunkering centre. Demand has weakened in recent weeks as a result of route diversions, stemming from the tense security situation in the Red Sea.

16 February US Gulf coast fuel oil spreads widest in 11 months Sulphur spreads between US Gulf coast residual fuel oil grades have reached the widest in 11 months, but that could change as refinery turnarounds likely wind down by late February or early March.

16 February Brazil's Paranagua cargo handling rises in January Cargo handling in Brazil's southern Paranagua and Antonina ports increased by 20pc in January from the same month last year, driven by higher exports and imports.

16 February Brazil's Paranagua port seeks to reach net zero by 2035 Brazil's port of Paranagua is working on a decarbonization plan for delivery by the end of 2026 to help it reach net zero balance greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2035 by developing renewable energy sources such as biogas and hydrogen.

16 February Tanker targeted in Red Sea A Panama-flagged tanker was targeted by a missile in the Red Sea today around 72 miles northwest of Mokha, Yemen, according to security firm Ambrey.

16 February Japan's NYK taps demand for chemical tankers Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) plans to receive six chemical tankers from late 2026 to 2029, in anticipation of potential demand growth for petrochemical products.

15 February Upper Mississippi ice report canceled on warm weather An annual government ice measurement program for shipping on the upper Mississippi River was canceled this year because of unseasonably warm weather.

15 February Scorpio Tankers upbeat on clean tanker rates New York-listed Scorpio Tankers said it expects strong market fundamentals to keep clean tanker freight rates elevated, even if disruptions to trade flows dissipate.

15 February Magellan Corpus Christi terminal doing maintenance US crude and refined products pipeline operator Magellan Midstream reported maintenance at its Corpus Christi, Texas, marine terminal.

15 February ARA oil products stocks increase on weaker demand Independently-held oil product stocks at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub hit their highest since mid-August, reaching 5.67mn t in the week to 14 February, according to consultancy Insights Global, as demand in the region slowed down.

15 February Panama Canal freezes customer priority ranking The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will freeze its customer priority ranking used to secure transit slots while temporary water-saving measures remain in place.

15 February Singapore's oil product stocks inch higher Singapore's overall oil product inventories inched upwards, driven by a surge in middle distillate imports, despite both light and heavy distillate stocks falling close to a 2½ month low, showed latest data from Enterprise Singapore.

14 February Petrobras working to rebuy refinery: CEO Brazil's state-controlled Petrobras is in talks with Abu Dhabi's Mubadala to buy the 300,000 b/d Mataripe refinery back, Petrobras' chief executive Jean Paul Prates said on social media.

14 February HSFO Med/NWE spread reaches near seven-month high High-sulphur bunker fuel in the west Mediterranean moved to its strongest premium to northwest Europe this week as attacks by Houthi rebels squeeze supply.

14 February Vitol can do with Saras what Saras cannot do alone Vitol's takeover of Italian independent refiner Saras, set in motion this week, could turn the latter into a specialised tool within the trading company's diverse business, while giving it a stronger footing to compete with rival Trafigura in Mediterranean oil markets.

14 February South Korea lifts 2023 light distillates output South Korean refiners increased light distillates production in 2023, while gasoil output fell.

13 February BP terminals low on fuel due to Whiting refinery outage BP told wholesale fuel customers it is buying refined products on the market to meet contractual obligations amid the continuing outage of its 435,000 b/d Whiting, Indiana, refinery.

13 February Outages hit Ecuador's 2023 refinery production Ecuador's three oil refineries of Esmeraldas, La Libertad and Shushufindi processed an average 146,235 b/d of crude in 2023, down by 5.3pc compared with the previous year, according to operator state-owned Petroecuador's data.

13 February Japan's bonded marine fuel sales fall in 2023 Japan sold less bonded marine fuel in 2023 compared with a year earlier, pressured by limited supply from domestic refineries owing to a series of disruptions.

12 February Suriname refinery undergoing 7-week turnaround Suriname's state-owned oil company Staatsolie's 15,000 b/d Tout Lui Faut refinery will undergo a seven-week turnaround starting on 16 February, Staatsolie said.

12 February US refiners shrug off dip in earnings US refiners' fourth-quarter financial results so far reveal a dip in earnings from the bumper profits of 2022, but the sector remains on a profitable footing and confident.

12 February India's MRPL plans refinery maintenance in Aug-Sep Indian state-controlled refiner MRPL plans to conduct a maintenance turnaround at one unit of its 311,000 b/d Mangalore refinery for around three weeks during August-September, a top official from the company told Argus.

12 February Atlantic basin diesel faces tight spring European diesel markets could be facing a tight spring as refinery maintenance and disruptions in the Red Sea make resupply difficult and expensive.

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Brazil 1Q tallow exports triple on long-term contracts

Brazil 1Q tallow exports triple on long-term contracts

Sao Paulo, 22 April (Argus) — Brazilian beef tallow exports totaled 73,930 metric tonnes (t) in the first quarter, a three-fold increase from the same three-month period in 2023 on rising demand. Almost 93pc of outflows between January and March were shipped to the US, according to data from Brazil's trade ministry. Long-term contracts explain the rising flow of exports, even though spot market arbitrage was closed throughout the first quarter (see chart) . The price of tallow in the Paranagua and Santos ports was $960/t fob on 19 April, keeping the arbitrage closed to US Gulf coast buyers, where the reference product was at $901/t on a delivered inland basis. Brazilian tallow is also negotiated at a premium against soybean oil, which closed at $882/t fob Paranagua on 19 April. This scenario has been observed since the 1 December 2023 start of Argus ' tallow export price assessment. Historically, vegetable oil in Brazil was traded at a discount to tallow, but strong demand has boosted the price of animal fat. Some biodiesel plants have been purchasing used cooking oil (UCO) or pork fat as an alternative. In 2023, there were doubts about whether the outflow of tallow from Brazil would be constant. Market participants now believe that the 2024 start of operations at new renewable diesel refineries in the US should sustain exports. Local suppliers that have already signed supply guarantee contracts — some up to three years — with American buyers are also considering export opportunities with Asia, including a new renewable diesel plant in Singapore that could receive Brazilian cargoes. Expansion projects are propelling US demand, including work that would bring capacity at Marathon Petroleum's Martinez Renewables plants in California to 2.35mn m³/y (40,750 b/d)and the Phillips 66 Rodeo unit in northern Californiato 3mn m³/y. These and other new projects will increase annual US demand for tallow by 5mn t. Maintenance on the horizon Maintenance at US refineries has Brazilian sellers bracing for a short-term drop in prices. Between May and June the Diamond Green Diesel (DGD) unit in Port Arthur, Texas, will shut down for maintenance, a stoppage that could impact demand for Brazilian inputs. Market participants have already observed a slight increase in domestic tallow supply, a change they attribute to maintenance at DGD. The advance of the soybean crop in Argentina is also expected to increase the supply of feedstocks to North American plants, as some refineries are returning to soybean oil after a hiatus of several years. The soybean oil quote on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is an important reference for the price of tallow. By Alexandre Melo Renewable feedstocks in Brazil on fob basis R/t Send comments and request more information at Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Colombia's electricity woes add to unrest against Petro


Colombia's electricity woes add to unrest against Petro

Bogota, 22 April (Argus) — Colombians took the streets of major cities and towns across the nation on Sunday to protest mainly against health, pension and labor changes, but potential power outages are also creating discontent. Authorities estimated that about 250,000 Colombians marched in widespread protests, sparked by changes in healthcare. Congress in April had rejected President Gustavo Petro's proposals in the sector, and the government the next day seized the two largest private-sector health insurers. Protesting healthcare workers say the government did this to implement changes through a back channel. "Regulatory noise and risk are likely to remain high amid announcements, proposals, and measures [that do not require congressional approval], aimed at changing the game's rules in strategic sectors," brokerage Credicorp Capital said. Colombians also protested being on the verge of electricity rationing like that in neighboring Ecuador as hydroelectric reservoirs remain at record-low levels. Several unions and other associations have long warned the Petro administration to take measures to offset the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon. Electricity distributors last year called for allowing bills for energy purchased on the spot market to be deferred and for loosening price index rules, among other proposals. The national business council sent at least three letters to the president on the issue. At least nine separate letters calling for preparation to prevent blackouts were sent to the president and ministers. Several actions were only recently implemented . "There are no risk of electricity rationing in Colombia," former energy minister Irene Velez said in 2023. "We do not understand why some people are interested in generating panic." Government weather forecasts also overestimated rainfall expected for March, leading hydroelectric plants to use more water in the reservoirs than they otherwise would have, said director of the thermoelectric generation association (Andeg) Alejandro Castaneda. Reservoir levels stood at 29.5pc today, rising thanks to rains since 19 April, up from 28.75pc on 18 April. Electricity rationing is set to begin when reservoirs drop below 27pc, according to grid operator XM. By Diana Delgado Send comments and request more information at Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Balticconnector gas pipe recommissioned after rupture


Balticconnector gas pipe recommissioned after rupture

London, 22 April (Argus) — The Finland-Estonia Balticconnector gas pipeline has been re-commissioned, with commercial flows starting at the beginning of today's gas day. There were renominations for 12.5GWh of flows towards Finland and 78.2GWh in the opposite direction for today as of early afternoon, suggesting net flows towards Estonia of around 66GWh. Finnish demand remains relatively low, while stocks at Finland's Inkoo LNG terminal need to be mostly depleted before the upcoming arrival of a new cargo on 26 April. The Balticconnector was taken off line on 8 October following a rupture caused by a dragging anchor . The system operators of Finland and Estonia said at the time that the pipeline could return in April at the earliest, meaning the initial timeline set out for repairs has been met. The recommissioning of the Balticconnector could allow Finnish prices to realign with those in the Baltic markets now that the two areas are connected again. During the Balticconnector's absence, Finland was entirely reliant on LNG deliveries to Inkoo, meaning prices were highly volatile and frequently held significantly above prices further south. Price differentials reached a peak of nearly €58/MWh ($62/MWh) in mid-January as a cold snap caused Finnish power-sector gas demand to soar while stocks at Inkoo were relatively low. That said, the basis between the two markets has narrowed significantly since mid-March, and the Finnish price has on several days held lower than in the Baltics ( see graph ). By Brendan A'Hearn Finnish vs Estonian-Latvian prices Oct 2023-present €/MWh Send comments and request more information at Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

German products demand up on supply concerns


German products demand up on supply concerns

Hamburg, 22 April (Argus) — German demand for heating oil and fuels rose sharply in the past week, with consumer concerns that conflict in the Middle East could restrict product availability were coupled with falling domestic product prices. Spot trade of heating oil, diesel and E5 gasoline submitted to Argus reached their highest weekly averages since the start of the year. The last time this amount of heating oil was traded was in December last year, and for gasoline and diesel it was at the beginning of October. Gasoline demand surged particularly in the Emsland and South regions, and middle distillates were primarily traded in Rhine-Main and Southwest. The missile attack by Iran on Israel on 13 April and Israel's drone attack on Iran on 19 April have heightened concerns of further escalation. An open conflict between Iran and Israel could affect supply of crude and gasoil from the Middle East by threatening major shipping routes of the Suez Canal, the strait of Hormuz and the eastern Mediterranean. These concerns led some German consumers to fill their tanks. Concurrently, product prices have fallen across Germany, further stimulating demand. Refineries in Karlsruhe and Neustadt-Vohburg have drawn buyers with fuel oil and gasoline prices below the German average. Heating oil at Miro's 310,000 b/d Karlsruhe traded at more than €2/100l below the national average, while gasoline at Bayernoil's 216,000 b/d Neustadt-Vohburg traded at a discount of almost €6/100l to the same average. By Johannes Guhlke Send comments and request more information at Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

ExxonMobil turns up heat on climate activists


ExxonMobil turns up heat on climate activists

New York, 22 April (Argus) — In the run-up to the annual proxy voting season, ExxonMobil is tightening the screws on climate activists it accuses of wasting the company's resources by repeatedly submitting the same shareholder proposals that have been resoundingly defeated in the past. In its 2024 proxy statement released this month, the top US oil major lays out the case against what it describes as "serial proponents" of ballot measures that abuse the shareholder proposal process by pushing their own narrow agenda at the expense of long-term shareholders. The campaign builds on a lawsuit filed against two investors at the start of the year that were leading the clamour for ExxonMobil to accelerate its climate goals and target emissions from customers. Dutch activist group Follow This and sustainable investment firm Arjuna Capital withdrew their motion in light of the lawsuit, but the oil major has continued with its legal action, arguing that "important issues remain for the court to decide". ExxonMobil is also calling for a stricter interpretation of rules governing the proxy process on the part of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The lawsuit follows a growing backlash against environmental, social and governance investing by Republican-led states that has taken aim at large asset managers including BlackRock. The pushback has seen the SEC water down new climate risk disclosure rules following an intense lobbying effort by big business. And US bank JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon recently slammed the White House's LNG export pause as "not only wrong but also enormously naive". The high watermark of the shareholder climate push came in 2021 when a tiny hedge fund overthrew a quarter of ExxonMobil's board with help from institutional investors concerned with the company's lagging financial performance. The difference between then and now is that oil industry profits have bounced back in the intervening years as the debate has shifted in favour of energy security following the war in Ukraine, sending ExxonMobil's share price to new highs. As a result, support for climate motions at oil companies has declined. ExxonMobil has four shareholder measures on the ballot for this year, down from 13 a year ago. Over at Chevron, the second-biggest US oil major, investors will vote on four shareholder proposals, down from eight in 2023. ExxonMobil is encouraging shareholders to vote against the proposals calling on it to cut executive pay incentives for emissions reductions, as well as carry out reports into pay in relation to gender and racial bias, the impact on workers and communities of the energy transition, and plastics. Ballot measures at Chevron include calls to implement reports on tax transparency and human rights practices. Early warning system? Only 3.55pc of the 140 resolutions filed at ExxonMobil annual meetings between 2014 and 2023 passed, the company says. The cost of considering each proposal is as much as $150,000. But proposals that initially attract only a small amount of shareholder support can sometimes act as an early warning system that spurs changes in company strategy further out, climate activists argue. ExxonMobil's lawsuit is an "aggressive effort to chill consideration among its shareholders about how the company is adapting its business model in light of the need for a fair and fast transition away from fossil fuels", advocacy group the Union of Concerned Scientists campaign director Kathy Mulvey says. Shareholder advocate As You Sow, criticised in ExxonMobil's proxy statement, accuses the major of attacking shareholder democracy. The board "should consider proposals on their merits, rather than assaulting the long-standing rights of company owners or their representatives", the group's president, Danielle Fugere, says. By Stephen Cunningham Send comments and request more information at Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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