Gasoline Barges Advance; Rhine River Levels Rise: Oil Products

Gasoline in Europe rose for the third day as Cargill Inc. bought in the barge market. Gasoil advanced for the fourth time in five days on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange.

A section of the Rhine River, Europe’s busiest inland waterway, in Germany has been shut after water levels increased, cutting Switzerland from the Rotterdam trading hub. That part of the river is used to transport commodities including coal, scrap metal and oil products.

Light Products

Gasoline in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp area traded at $950 and $951 a metric ton, according to a survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Argus Bulletin Board. That compares with deals at $941 and $945 yesterday.

Chevron Corp., Trafigura Beheer BV and Hess Corp.’s Hetco unit sold the Eurobob grade, to which ethanol is added to make finished fuel. Vitol Group and Statoil ASA bought shipments comprising 1,000 tons.

The fuel’s crack, or premium to Brent crude, fell to $4.85 a barrel as of 10:52 a.m. London time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a crude and products broker. It was $5.12 yesterday.

Gasoline demand in France declined 0.9 percent last month from a year earlier, according to the Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres, an industry group.

Naphtha’s crack, or discount to Brent, widened to $3.22 a barrel, PVM data showed. It was $3.01 the previous session, the smallest spread since Jan. 31.

Middle Distillates

Gasoil for January delivery rose $9.50, or 1 percent, to $937.75 a ton on the ICE exchange as of 12:42 p.m. local time. February futures were at parity to the front month.

The futures have been in contango, where near-term supplies are cheaper than later deliveries, for 27 sessions as of yesterday amid a milder weather. That was the longest stretch since August last year.

The temperature in Frankfurt was 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) today, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. It has been above the five-year average since Dec. 14.

“The ICE gasoil front spreads have not been particularly strong recently, and the recent European weather developments currently do not call for a change of trend,” Olivier Jakob, managing director of Switzerland-based researcher Petromatrix GmbH said today in a note.

The fuel’s crack gained to $15.98 a barrel versus $15.80 at 4:30 p.m. yesterday. Brent rose 1 percent to $109.90 a barrel.

Diesel consumption in France rose 5.2 percent in November from the same month last year, UFIP said today in an e-mail.

Rhine River

At Kaub, 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Frankfurt, the barge clearance level was 5.17 meters at 12:33 p.m. local time, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. That was the highest since January 2011. Rhine water level in Rheinfelden, Germany, near the Swiss border rose to 754 centimeters yesterday, the highest since June 14.

The waterway closed late yesterday between Germersheim and Iffezheim, Thomas May, an official at the Wasserschutzpolizei, said today by phone from Karlsruhe where the 310,000 barrel-a-day Miro refinery is located. Germany is Europe’s biggest heating oil market.

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