Vitol Sells Europe Naphtha; Diesel at 8-Month Low: Oil Products

Vitol Group sold two cargoes of European naphtha, bringing its total to 22 this month.

Diesel premiums declined to an eight-month low as JPMorgan Chase & Co. sold barges of the fuel. Heating oil rose relative to February gasoil on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Light Products

Vitol offloaded two naphtha shipments of 12,500 metric tons each to Glencore International Plc, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window. The cargoes changed hands at $920 and $921 a ton, compared with a trade yesterday at $906. Vitol sold 20 cargoes from Jan. 1 to yesterday, according to Platts data.

Naphtha’s crack, or discount to Brent crude, narrowed 28 cents to $7.26 barrel as of 1:41 p.m. local time, according to PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a crude and refined products broker in London. That’s the smallest spread in a week and compares with $7.54 yesterday.

Gasoline in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp oil hub changed hands at $972 to $976 a ton, according to a similar survey of the Argus Bulletin Board and Platts. That’s up from $965 to $972 yesterday and is the highest since Jan. 10, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Total SA, Chevron Corp. and Gunvor Group Ltd. sold the Eurobob grade, to which ethanol is added to make finished fuel. Trafigura Beheer BV and Morgan Stanley bought barges, which typically comprise 1,000 to 2,000 tons.

Gasoline’s crack, or premium to Brent crude, rose 19 cents to $7.16 a barrel, PVM data showed.

Middle Distillates

Diesel barges traded from $10 to $11 a ton more than February gasoil, the survey of Platts showed. That’s the lowest since May 8, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and is down from deals $12 to $14.50 on Jan. 16.

JPMorgan, Total, Glencore and OAO Lukoil’s Litasco unit sold diesel. Vitol and Morgan Stanley bought.

Heating oil barges traded at a premium of $1 to February gasoil, compared with Jan. 16 trades at parity to the futures, the Platts survey showed. Argos Groep BV and Litasco were vendors to Vitol and Omneo Trading. The low-sulfur grade changed hands at a $5 premium, versus at $9 on Jan. 16.

Gasoil for February delivery rose $6.75, or 0.7 percent, to $959.25 a ton as of 5:17 p.m. on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. The contract’s backwardation, or premium to March, grew 25 cents to $7 a ton. This market structure can signal rising near-term consumption or falling stockpiles.

Gasoil’s crack fell to $16.46 a barrel at 4:30 p.m. versus $16.73 yesterday. Brent shrank 0.2 percent to $111.28 a barrel.


High-sulfur fuel oil changed hands from $609 to $611.25 a ton, the survey of Platts showed. That compares with $605.50 to $606.75 in the previous session. The low-sulfur grade traded at $635.50 a ton, versus $633 to $634 yesterday.


Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil company, plans to halt its 80,000 barrel-a-day Venice refinery from today until Jan. 26, the local authority said. The plant will flare gases during the planned outage, according to a statement on Venice’s city authority website.

Some European refiners have reduced production and more will probably curb operations if profits don’t recover, according to the International Energy Agency. The cuts come during the region’s winter, when demand for heating fuel usually rises.

“Weak demand, in part due to a mild winter and the progressive return from maintenance of European and Russian refineries, has driven down European refining margins by $3 a barrel in northwest Europe and $2 a barrel in the Mediterranean,” the Paris-based energy adviser said in its monthly oil market report today.

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