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Gasoline Gains on Hess Halt; European Gasoil Barges Rise

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Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- European gasoline rose to the highest in more than three months on speculation transatlantic shipments will be boosted by the planned closure of Hess Corp.’s Port Reading refinery in New Jersey next month.

Low-sulfur heating oil barge differentials rose. Glencore International Plc purchased two cargoes of naphtha from Royal Dutch Shell Plc at stable prices.

Light Products

Gasoline in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp oil hub traded from $1,020 to $1,048 a metric ton, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Argus Bulletin Board and Platts pricing window. That’s the highest since Oct. 12 and compares with trades from $1,021 and $1,023 on Jan. 25.

Total SA, Gunvor Group Ltd. and Chevron Corp. sold the Eurobob grade, to which ethanol is added before being sold at the pump. BP Plc, Shell, Trafigura Beheer BV, Vitol Group and Argos Groep BV bought barges, which typically comprise 1,000 and 2,000 tons. Cargill Inc. was both a buyer and seller.

Hess will close the 70,000 barrel-a-day facility in New Jersey by the end of February and seek a buyer for its 19 storage terminals located along the U.S. East Coast, the company said today in a statement.

“With the shutdown of the Port Reading refinery, the arbitrage for gasoline imports from Europe may need to open even at this relatively early time of the year,” Abhishek Deshpande, an analyst at Natixis SA in London, said today in an e-mailed response to questions.

Gasoline’s crack, or premium to Brent crude, fell to $9.99 a barrel as of 2:09 p.m. local time, according to PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a London-based broker. The gap was $10.90 the previous session, which was the highest since Sept. 28.

Naphtha cargoes were little changed, trading at $946 and $947 a ton, according to the survey of Platts. Glencore bought two cargoes at 12,500 tons each and BP bought one. Shell and Gunvor sold.

Naphtha’s crack, or discount to Brent, widened to $7.31 a barrel, versus $6.75 on Jan. 25.

Middle Distillates

Diesel barges were unchanged, trading at a premium of $9 a ton to February gasoil on the ICE Futures Europe exchange, the survey of Platts showed. BP was the main seller to Vitol.

Gunvor sold four barges of heating oil to Vitol at parity to February futures, the same level as trades on Jan. 25, the survey showed. The low-sulfur grade changed hands at $6 a ton more than ICE gasoil, as Glencore sold to Morgan Stanley. That’s up from plus $5 on Jan. 25.

Money managers raised net-long positions on gasoil to the most in more than two months on the ICE exchange. Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 66,644 contracts in the week to Jan. 22, the ICE said in its weekly Commitment of Traders report. That’s up 7 percent from the previous week and is the most since Oct. 30.

Gasoil for February delivery rose $3.50, or 0.4 percent, to $972 a ton on the ICE exchange as of 4:55 p.m. London time. The contract’s premium, or backwardation, to March futures widened $2 to $8.75 a ton. The market structure may signal declining near-term supplies or increasing demand.

Gasoil’s crack was at $16.03 a barrel as of 4:30 p.m. London time, up from $15.91 on Jan. 25. Brent was little changed at $113.35 a barrel.

Residues

High-sulfur fuel oil changed hands from $613 to $613.75 a ton, the survey of Platts showed. That compares with $614 to $615 in the previous session. The low-sulfur grade traded at $646 a ton, versus $646 to $647 on Jan. 25.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lananh Nguyen in London at lnguyen35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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