Total boosts fuel oil purchases to 580,000T
Singapore, May 7, 2009
Total, global oil and gas company and chemicals manufacturer, has bought 90,000 tonnes of cracked 380-cst fuel oil from Saudi Aramco, taking its total to at least 580,000 tonnes since late March.
The French oil major's recent physical fuel oil purchases -- which come after a number of years of inactivity -- could signal a push into higher margin physical trades, traders said.
Total bought from Aramco at least three cracked 380-centistoke (cst) fuel oil cargoes for April 28-30, April 5-7 and March 20-24 lifting, and two A960 straight-run fuel oil parcels for April and May loading, traders said.
For the latest cargo loading on May 24-26 from Jubail, Total paid a discount of minus $5-$7 a tonne to Singapore spot quotes, on a free-on-board (FOB) basis -- a similar or lower discount to previous deals, traders said.
Last month, Aramco also sold 90,000 tonnes of cracked 380-cst fuel oil from Jubail for May 12 lifting to Vitol at a discount of around $7 per tonne to Singapore spot quotes, FOB.
Total had bid for 40,000 tonnes of 380-cst fuel oil for May 14-18 lifting in the Platts window last Thursday, the first time in more than a year, and also sealed a short-term throughput deal with Kuo Oil, which allows the French firm to blend and store its fuel oil cargoes.
The Asian fuel oil market has been strengthening over the last few weeks. Cracks jumped to near two and a half month highs earlier this week in anticipation of tighter supplies ahead.
Fewer Western arbitrage cargoes are expected to land in Asia in May and June, as European refiners slash capacity, led by Total, which is shutting a quarter of its Gonfreville plant, the biggest in France.
The peak summer demand season in the Middle East is also expected to draw barrels away from Asia in the quarter for domestic power generation, while Indian exports are declining, due to firm domestic demand and refinery run cuts. – Reuters