MABUX: Bunker market this morning, April 01
The Bunker Review was contributed by Mabux Bunker Exchange
MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, 180 HSFO and MGO (Gasoil) in the main world hubs) changed irregular on Mar.29:
380 HSFO - USD/MT - 415.14(+1.14)
180 HSFO - USD/MT - 461.71(+0.71)
MGO - USD/MT - 629.21(-4.43)
Meantime, world oil indexes rose on Mar.29 amid the ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.
Brent for June settlement increased by $0.48 to $67.58 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for May delivery added $0.84 to $60.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent benchmark traded at the premium of 8.25 to WTI. Gasoil for April delivery gained $5.25.
Today morning oil indexes continued moderate upward trend.
Saudi Arabia is having difficulties keeping Russia in the frame of oil cut agreement, with Russia apparently interested in a rather short extension of just three months come June. Russia has already informed Saudi Arabia, that it could not guarantee an extension of the production cut pact through the rest of the year, as there is too much pressure internally to end the cuts. After agreeing to the cut 228,000 barrels per day, Russia notified the media in January that it would not be able cut oil production that quickly, and that it could only cut 50,000 bpd and 60,000 bpd that month. Now it may be not clear until the last minute if Russia will stay in the deal at all.
Meantime, a new bloc is emerging in the Middle East with the declared objectives of dominating the entire Arab world, confronting and containing the US and its allies; and controlling and benefiting from the entire hydro-carbon economy, from production to transportation. The leading members of the new bloc are Turkey, Iran, and Qatar; with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan submitting to the new bloc. Russian experts call the new bloc the Middle Eastern Entente. It looks like Russia and the People’s Republic of China are ready to compromise with the regional powers in order to secure their vital and global interests, while the US, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, Israel, are the rivals of the bloc.
The Japanese parliament approved an extension of insurance coverage for imports of Iranian crude oil effective from the start of April and expiring a year later. However, this does not mean Japanese refiners will continue buying Iranian crude if they do not score sanction waivers from Washington. Despite the sanction waiver, Japan only restarted its purchases of Iranian crude last month, at a rate of just a little above 76,000 bpd, compared to almost 160,000 bpd a year earlier. The chances for an extension seem slim right now. Earlier last week Washington’s special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said no new waivers will be granted after the expiry of the current ones.
Chinese and U.S. negotiators are working line-by-line through the text of an agreement that can be put before President Donald Trump and counterpart Xi Jinping to defuse a nearly year-long trade war. U.S. and China delegations held meetings in Beijing on Mar.29 partly to ensure there were no discrepancies in the English and Chinese-language versions of the text, and also to balance the number of working visits to each capital. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is due in Washington this week. The focus on the joint wording has become a key issue after U.S. officials complained that Chinese versions of the text had walked back or omitted commitments made by negotiators. The key areas where the U.S. is demanding better terms include China improving treatment of U.S. intellectual property, opening up market access for American companies and agreeing on an enforcement mechanism for the trade deal.
Libya’s oil revenues fell in February to $1.26 billion, as repeated oilfield closures continue to weigh on. The oil revenues were $330 million less than January levels, while overall oil production had actually increased by 23,000 bpd in February. Libya continues to suffer from oilfield and port closures both due to inclimate weather and internal strife over who will control its great oil wealth that resulted in a force majeure over the last few months. Libya’s NOC is currently developing a new security plan to safeguard production from its prolific Sharara oilfield that has been plagued with unrest for years. Its output should be more than 300,000 bpd.
Two South Korean refiners have canceled the delivery of U.S crude oil cargoes that were due to arrive in January and February this year, as the refiners had been concerned about the quality of the crude. It means that quality could at some point become a bigger problem for U.S. producers. With a massive pipeline network carrying crude oil from the U.S. shale patch to the Gulf Coast ports, the oil gets contaminated with various undesirable things, from oil residue to heavy metals, pipe cleaning agents, and a group of compounds called oxygenates. These last ones are particularly worrying for refiners.
The U.S. active oil and gas rig count fell for the second consecutive week as U.S. crude production plateaus. In a repeat of 2 weeks ago, the U.S. total rig count fell last week by 10: 8 fewer oil rigs to reach 816, and 2 fewer gas rigs to reach 190. However, the total rig count is still slightly higher-plus 13 rigs - than this time last year. The slowdown was felt even more exaggeratedly in Canada, where the total rig count fell to 88, a loss of 17 this week and a loss of 46 as compared to this time last year.
We expect bunker prices may rise in a range of plus 3-5 USD/MT.