MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Jan 24
The Bunker Review was contributed by Marine Bunker Exchange (MABUX)
MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, 180 HSFO and MGO (Gasoil) in the main world hubs) demonstrated irregular changes on Jan.23:
380 HSFO: USD/MT 380.18 (+0.70)
VLSFO: USD/MT 615.00 (-9.00)
MGO: USD/MT 659.61 (-7.82)
Meantime, world oil indexes fell on Jan.23 on concern that the spread of a respiratory virus from China could lower fuel demand if it stunts economic growth.
Brent for March settlement decreased by $1.17 to $62.04 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for March fell by $1.15 to $55.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent benchmark traded at the premium of $6.45 to WTI. Gasoil for February delivery lost $6.75.
Today morning global oil indexes turned into slight upward trend so far.
China put on lockdown two cities that were at the epicentre of a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 17 people and infected nearly 600, as health authorities around the world scrambled to prevent a global pandemic. The potential for a pandemic has stirred memories of the Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in 2002-03, which also started in China and dented economic growth and caused a slump in travel. Cases have been detected as far as away as the United States and global stock markets were also down in part due to fears of the virus spreading further as millions of Chinese prepare to travel for the Lunar New Year.
The Energy Information Administration reported a modest crude oil inventory draw of 400,000 barrels for the week to January 17. This compared with forecast expectations of a 1.117-million-barrel inventory decline and a draw of 2.5 million barrels reported a week earlier. Last week, however, oil prices were pressured by the EIA’s reporting of hefty builds in both gasoline and distillate fuel.
The Energy Information Administration also said that oil production in the seven most prolific shale plays in the United States is set to increase by 22,000 bpd in February to 9.2 million bpd. Oil and gas companies drilled a total of 1,036 wells in December and completed 1,086. The number of drilled but uncompleted wells has shrunk to just 7,573. This is down from 8,055 year over year, and the lowest number since October 2018. Overall, oil production in the United States continues to increase unchecked, reaching 13 million bpd for week ending January 10.
Alexander Novak will continue to be the face of Russia’s energy diplomacy at OPEC+ summits as he remains Russia’s Energy Minister in the new government that President Vladimir Putin appointed Jan.21. Novak, who has been leading the energy ministry since 2012, has been a key figure in the talks between OPEC and its leader and largest producer, Saudi Arabia, and the Russia-led alliance of non-OPEC producers in cutting deals to reduce oil production in recent years. After a week of speculation and uncertainty about who will hold which posts, including that of the energy minister, Putin signed the executive order to appoint the new government. Several key ministers, including Novak and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, will keep their posts. Russia’s position regarding the fate of the deeper production cuts in place until the end of March will be much less familiar, as Novak is known for keeping it ‘a secret’ until the day of the meeting.
The European Union is eyeing long promised punitive measures against Turkey for its illegal military incursion into northern Syria, as well as its unauthorized natural gas drilling off Cyprus' coast. The EU has moved to cut pre-accession aid to Turkey by 75 percent (the Instrument for 'Pre-Accession Assistance' (IPA) is offered in support of reforms in countries in the process of joining the EU). The cut in aid, however, doesn't affect the €3.5 billion offered to Turkey as part of a larger EU deal to prevent refugees from reaching European shores. Meantime, the EU has already warned Turkey of possible repercussions over illegal gas drilling off the coast of Cyprus.
General Khalifa Haftar has shut off more than half of Libya’s oil exports, and the National Oil Company (NOC) has declared force majeure, taking 800,000 barrels per day of crude offline for export, and costing the country some $55 million in lost revenues daily. Four key ports - Hariga, Brega, Sidra and Ras Lanuf - are closed and under force majeure as of 18 January. Once these ports reach their storage capacity, which is limited, the NOC will have to shut down crude oil production. Right now, the NOC is reducing crude oil production rates to avoid a total shutdown of production. A total shutdown would take all 1.2 million bpd offline and cost the country $77 million a day. However, even if Libya shutters its entire 1.2 million bpd, OPEC can offset the supply disruption with a spare 3 million bpd of capacity, so the impact would be limited.
IBIA found that most shipping and bunkering companies had experienced a ‘surprisingly smooth transition’ for IMO 2020, but there was uncertainty on how to deal with sulphur test results marginally above the 0.50% limit. As per IBIA, the problem lies in the difference between commercial contract interpretation around test precision principles and the MARPOL Annex VI sulphur verification procedures approved by the IMO for authorities to use when obtaining samples from ships to check for compliance. It was also noted that majority of the companies have not had the operational problems that have been predicted due to fuels with serious stability issues or due to mixing incompatible fuels onboard the ship, although VLSFO testing off-spec for sediment, an indicator of poor fuel stability, has been reported in some ports during December and January.
We expect bunker prices to fall slightly in a range of minus 3-6 USD.