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Vitol Extends Naphtha Purchases; ICE Gasoil Gains: Oil Products

Vitol Group extended its purchases of naphtha in northwest Europe, taking its number of cargoes to 22 since the start of last week. Gasoil rose 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 off from the Rotterdam trading hub. That part of the river is used to transport commodities including coal, scrap metal and oil products.

Light Products

Naphtha traded from $959 to $961 a metric ton as Vitol bought four shipments from Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Glencore International Plc, Dow Chemical Co. and Trafigura Beheer BV, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window. That’s the most since Oct. 17 and compares with a deal at $957 yesterday.

Naphtha’s crack, or discount to Brent, widened to $3.36 a barrel at 1:50 p.m. London time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a crude and products broker. It was $3.01 the previous session, the smallest spread since Jan. 31.

Gasoline in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp area traded at $950 and $951 a 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 and Hess Corp.’s Hetco sold the Eurobob grade, to which ethanol is added to make finished fuel. Vitol and Statoil ASA bought shipments comprising 1,000 tons.

The fuel’s crack, or premium to Brent crude, fell to $4.71 a barrel as of 1:50 p.m. London time, PVM data showed. 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.

Middle Distillates

Diesel barges traded at $17 more than January gasoil on ICE, the Platts survey showed. That’s unchanged from yesterday. North Sea Group sold to Vitol Group and Morgan Stanley.

The latter was the only buyer of jet fuel barges, acquiring three lots from BP Plc and Vitol at premiums of $85 and $86 a ton, the survey showed. That matches yesterday’s level, the highest since Nov. 20, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Gasoil for January delivery rose $9.25, or 1 percent, to $937.50 a ton on ICE as of 4:52 p.m. London time. The February contract was at a 50 cent premium to the front month.

The futures have been in contango, where near-term supplies are cheaper than later deliveries, for the 28th session as of today because of milder weather. That’s 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 $15.92 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.


High-sulfur fuel oil changed hands from $575.75 to $583 a ton, the survey of Platts showed. That compares with $573 to $578.50 a ton yesterday. The low-sulfur grade traded at $614, versus $610.25 to $611 yesterday.

Rhine River

At Kaub, 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Frankfurt, the barge clearance level was 5.22 meters at 4:34 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 7.54 meters 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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