Latest market news

Asia demand lifts US VLCC rates to 4-month high

  • : Crude oil, Freight
  • 24/05/21

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.


Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

24/07/24

Indian budget lifts spending for refining, crude SPR

Indian budget lifts spending for refining, crude SPR

Mumbai, 24 July (Argus) — India allocated 1.19 trillion rupees ($14.2bn) to the oil ministry in its budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year ending 31 March, up from Rs1.12 trillion in the 2023-24 revised budget. The budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 23 July was the first since the BJP-led administration was re-elected in June . Indian state-controlled refiner IOC was allocated Rs273bn for 2024-25, up from Rs270bn in the revised budget for 2023-24. Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) received an increased allocation of Rs110bn, up from 95bn, while Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) was allotted Rs107bn that was up from Rs102bn previously. No capital support was allocated to the oil marketing companies in the budget given IOC, BPCL and HPCL all reported record profits in 2023-24. India's crude import dependency rose to 88.3pc in April-June from 88.8pc the previous year, oil ministry data show. India's crude imports during January-June were up by around 1pc on a year earlier at 4.65mn b/d, according to Vortexa data. ONGC's allocation rose to Rs308bn for 2024-25, while fellow state-controlled upstream firm Oil India's increased to Rs68bn from Rs305bn and Rs56bn rupees respectively in the revised budget for 2023-24. India has been trying to reduce its dependence on imports and will offer 25 oil and gas blocks in the tenth bidding round in August or September under the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy's Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP). It offered 136,596.45km² in 28 upstream oil and gas blocks in the ninth bidding round. ONGC in January secured seven of the 10 areas of exploration blocks offered under India's eighth OALP round. A private-sector consortium of Reliance Industries and BP, Oil India and private-sector Sun Petrochemicals received one block each. Allocation for the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) received a push to Rs4.08bn for the construction of caverns under its second phase against Rs400mn in the previous budget. The first phase of India's SPR built 1.33mn t (9.75mn bl) of crude storage at Vishakhapatnam, 1.5mn t at Mangalore and 2.5mn t at Padur. A provision of Rs119.25bn was made for LPG subsidies in 2024-25 compared with spending of Rs122.4bn in 2023-24. By Roshni Devi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Repsol 2Q profit doubles but cash flow turns negative


24/07/24
24/07/24

Repsol 2Q profit doubles but cash flow turns negative

Madrid, 24 July (Argus) — Spanish integrated Repsol's profit more than doubled on the year in the second quarter, as lower one-time losses and better results in the upstream and customer divisions more than offset a weaker refining performance. But its cash flow turned negative as it completed the buyout of its UK joint venture with China's state-controlled Sinopec, raised investments and experienced weaker refining margins. Net debt was sharply higher, largely reflecting share buy-backs. Repsol has said it will acquire and cancel a further 20mn of its own shares before the end of the year, which will probably further increase its debt. It completed a 40mn buy-back in the first half of the year. Repsol's profit climbed to €657mn ($714mn) in April-June from €308mn a year earlier, when earnings were hit by a large provision against an arbitration ruling that obliged it to acquire Sinopec's stake in their UK joint venture. Excluding this and other special items, such as a near threefold reduction in the negative inventory effect to €85mn, Repsol's adjusted profit increased by 4pc on the year to €859mn. Repsol confirmed the fall in refining margins and upstream production reported earlier in July . Liquids output increased by 3pc on the year to 214,000 b/d, and gas production fell by 4pc to 2.1bn ft³/d. Adjusted upstream profit increased by 4pc on the year to €427mn. The higher crude production and a 13pc rise in realised prices to $78.6/bl more than offset lower gas production and prices, which fell by 6pc to $3.1/'000 ft³ over the same period. Adjusted profit at Repsol's industrial division — which includes 1mn b/d of Spanish and Peruvian refining capacity, an olefins-focused petrochemicals division, and a gas and oil product trading business — was down by 16pc on the year at €288mn. Profit fell at the 117,000 b/d Pampilla refinery in Peru after a turnaround and weak refining margins, and there was lower income from gas trading. Spanish refining profit rose on a higher utilisation rate and gains in oil product trading. Repsol's customer-focused division reported adjusted profit of €158mn in April-June, 7pc higher on the year thanks to higher retail electricity margins, a jump in sales from an expanded customer base, higher margins in aviation fuels and higher sales volumes in lubricants. Repsol swung to a negative free cash flow, before shareholder remuneration and buy-backs, of €574mn in the second quarter, from a positive €392mn a year earlier. After shareholder remuneration, including the share buy-backs and dividends, Repsol had a negative cash position of €1.12bn compared with a positive €133mn a year earlier. Repsol's net debt more than doubled to €4.595bn at the end of June from €2.096bn on 31 December 2023, reflecting the share buy-backs and new leases of equipment. By Jonathan Gleave Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Equinor 2Q profit supported by higher European output


24/07/24
24/07/24

Equinor 2Q profit supported by higher European output

London, 24 July (Argus) — Norway's state-controlled Equinor posted a small rise in profit on the year in the April-June period, as a lift in its European production offset lower gas prices. Equinor reported a profit of $1.87bn in the second quarter, up by 2.2pc on the year but down by 30pc from the first three months of 2024. The company paid two Norwegian corporation tax instalments, totalling $6.98bn, in the second quarter, compared with one in the first quarter. Equinor paid $7.85bn in tax in April-June in total. Its average liquids price in the second quarter was $77.6/bl, up by 10pc from the second quarter of 2023. But average gas prices for Equinor's Norwegian and US production fell in the same period by 17pc and 6pc, respectively. The company noted "strong operational performance and lower impact from turnarounds" on the Norwegian offshore, including new output from the Breidablikk field . Equinor's entitlement production was 1.92mn b/d of oil equivalent (boe/d) in April-June, up by 3pc on the year. The company cited "high production" from Norway's Troll and Oseberg fields in the second quarter, as well as new output from the UK's Buzzard field. But US output slid, owing to offshore turnarounds and "planned curtailments onshore to capture higher value when demand is higher", the company said. It estimates oil and gas production across 2024 will be "stable" compared with last year, while its renewable power generation is expected to increase by around 70pc across the same timespan. Equinor's share of power generation rose by 14pc on the year to 1.1TWh in April-June. Of this, 655GWh was renewables — almost doubling on the year — driven by new onshore wind capacity in Brazil and Poland. "Construction is progressing" on the UK's 1.2GW Dogger Bank A offshore windfarm , Equinor said. It is aiming for full commercial operations in the first half of 2025 at Dogger Bank A — a joint venture with UK utility SSE. Equinor was granted three new licences in June to develop CO2 storage in Norway and Denmark. The Norwegian licences — Albondigas and Kinno — together have CO2 storage potential of 10mn t/yr. The Danish onshore licence, for which Equinor was awarded a 60pc stake, has potential capacity of 12mn t/yr. Equinor has a goal of 30mn-50mn t/yr of CO2 transport and storage capacity by 2035. The company's scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions amounted to 5.6mn t/CO2 equivalent (CO2e) in the first half of the year, edging lower from 5.8mn t/CO2e in January-June 2023. It also incrementally cut its upstream CO2 intensity, from 6.7 kg/boe across 2023, to 6.3 kg/boe in the first half of this year. Equinor has kept its ordinary cash dividend steady , at $0.35/share, and will continue the extraordinary cash dividend of $0.35/share for the second quarter. It will launch a third $1.6bn tranche of its share buyback programme on 25 July. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US House passes waterways bill


24/07/23
24/07/23

US House passes waterways bill

Houston, 23 July (Argus) — The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill on Monday authorizing the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to tackle a dozen port, inland waterway and other water infrastructure projects. The Republican-led House voted 359-13 to pass the Waterways Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes the Corps to proceed with plans to upgrade the Seagirt Loop Channel near Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. The bill also will enable the Corps to move forward with 160 feasibility studies, including a $314mn resiliency study of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which connects ports along the Gulf of Mexico from St Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. Water project authorization bills typically are passed every two years and generally garner strong bipartisan support because they affect numerous congressional districts. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously passed its own version of the bill on 22 May. That bill does not include an adjustment to the cost-sharing structure for lock and dam construction and other rehabilitation projects. The Senate's version is expected to reach the floor before 2 August, before lawmakers break for their August recess. The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until 9 September. If the Senate does not pass an identical version of the bill, lawmakers will have to meet in a conference committee to work out the differences. WRDA is "our legislative commitment to investing in and protecting our communities from flooding and droughts, restoring our environment and ecosystems and keeping our nation's competitiveness by supporting out ports and harbors", representative Grace Napolitano (D-California) said. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US House to vote on waterways bill


24/07/22
24/07/22

US House to vote on waterways bill

Houston, 22 July (Argus) — The US House of Representatives is expected to vote on 22 July on a waterways bill that would authorize new infrastructure projects across ports and rivers. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is renewed typically every two years to authorize projects for the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The bipartisan bill is sponsored by representative Rick Larsen (D-Washington) and committee chairman Sam Graves (R-Missouri). The full committee markup occurred 26 June, where amendments were added, and the bill was passed to the full House . A conference committee will need to be called to resolve the different versions of the bill. The major difference between the bills is that the House bill does not include an adjustment to the cost-sharing structure for the lock and dam construction and other rehabilitation projects. The Senate Committee on Environment Public Works passed its own version of the bill on 22 May, with all members in favor of the bill. The House version of the bill approves modifications to the Seagirt Loop Channel near the Baltimore Harbor in Maryland, along with 11 other projects and 160 feasibility studies. One of these studies is a $314.25mn resiliency study of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which connects ports along the Gulf of Mexico from St Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more