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Statoil Buys European Naphtha; Diesel Barges Drop: Oil Products

Statoil ASA bought a cargo of naphtha for a second day in northwest Europe as prices rebounded from a five-month low last week.

Diesel barges premiums dropped to the lowest in more than seven months. Gasoil rose to the highest since the end of October, buoyed by forecasts for colder weather in the region.

Light products

Royal Dutch Shell Plc sold the 12,500 metric-ton cargo of naphtha to Statoil at $904, matching a deal from the previous session, according to traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window. Prices have rebounded from a trade at $888 a ton on Jan. 11, which was the lowest in five months.

Naphtha’s crack, or discount to Brent crude, narrowed to $7.81 a barrel as of 2:12 p.m. local time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker in London. It was $8.12 yesterday and has shrunk from $8.73 last week, which was the biggest discount since the end of July.

Gasoline barges in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp oil hub changed hands at $964 to $970 a metric ton, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Argus Bulletin Board. That’s down from $967 to $973 yesterday.

Gunvor Group Ltd. bought the Eurobob grade, to which ethanol is added to make finished fuel. Total SA sold the barges, which typically comprise 1,000 to 2,000 tons.

Gasoline’s crack, a measure of refining profit, shrank 45 cents to $6.69 a barrel, PVM data showed. That compares with $7.14 a barrel the previous session and is the lowest in more than a week.

Middle Distillates

Diesel barges changed hands at $12 to $14 a ton more than February gasoil on the ICE Futures Europe exchange, according to the survey of Platts. That’s down from a $16 premium yesterday and is the lowest since May 31, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Argos Groep BV and Total were sellers, while Vitol Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were buyers. Shell bought and sold.

Gunvor sold a barge of heating oil to Shell at parity to February futures, the survey showed. That compares with trades at minus $1 to plus $1 a ton on Jan. 11.

Gasoil for February delivery rose as much as $12 to $966.50 a ton, the highest intraday level since Oct. 30. It increased 0.5 percent to $959.50 a ton as of 4:58 p.m. London time on ICE.

The contract’s backwardation, or premium to March futures, grew to $8.50 a ton versus $7 the previous session. The market structure can signal rising near-term demand or falling supply.

The backwardation “is surging with some cold weather on both sides of the Atlantic,” Olivier Jakob, managing director of Switzerland-based researcher Petromatrix GmbH, said in a note today.

Temperatures in Frankfurt are forecast to drop to minus 7 degrees Celsius (19 Fahrenheit) on Jan. 20 from minus 1 today, according to data from CustomWeather Inc. Germany is Europe’s largest heating oil market. Temperatures will also fall below zero in London, Paris and Amsterdam this week, the data show.

Gasoil’s crack, a measure of refining profit, rose to $17.58 a barrel at 4:30 p.m. versus $17.10 yesterday. Brent declined 0.6 percent to $111.19 a barrel.


High-sulfur fuel oil changed hands from $603.50 to $605 a ton, the survey of Platts showed. That compares with $603 to $604 the previous session. The low-sulfur grade traded at $633 to $636 a ton, versus $633 to $634 yesterday.

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