Newcastle Vessel Queue to Rise Again
The vessel queue at Newcastle currently stands at 50, with estimated vessel waiting time of 19.3 days, reports McCloskey. The queue eased slightly from last week's total of 51, however, the Hunter Valley Coal Chain logistics team forecasts the queue to reach a record 62 vessels by mid-February. SSY's Australian Coal Port Congestion Index, which takes into account berthing delays at all the major coal ports in the country, has risen for the fifth consecutive week and now stands at 15.3 days, compared to 14.7 last week.
Richard Bay Exports Sharply Lower in January
Richards Bay Coal Terminal exported just 3.97 Mt of coal in January, compared to 5.8 Mt in January last year, according to unofficial figures reported by McCloskey. This is one of the lowest monthly totals ever and according to Richards Bay executive chairman, Kuseni Dlamini, low shipping rates were due to weak demand from customers. In spite of low shipments in January, exports are projected to pick up rapidly in February.
Japans Crude Oil Imports Drop in 2006
Japan's crude oil imports in 2006 reached 4.19m b/d, 0.9% less year-on-year, according to new government data, reports Energy Intelligence. While Middle East continued to account for around 90% of shipments, imports from Africa increased by 30.5% to 183k b/d. Sudan was the largest African supplier, followed by Angola and Nigeria. Total imports in December decreased by 4.3% to 4.28m b/d.
Meanwhile, crude oil is approaching $60/bbl in New York as colder weather over most of the US has resulted in increased demand for heating fuel, reports Bloomberg.
India Plans To Increase Refining Capacity
India's government plans to expand refining capacity by 62% to over 4.8m b/d over the next 5 years to enhance energy security, making it a hub for product exports as domestic demand fails to keep pace with rising output, reports Petroleum Argus. Refining capacity is currently just under 3m b/d, having increased 340k b/d in 2006. Indian oil demand grew just 2.4% to 2.3m b/d in April-October 2006, compared with the same period in 2005, despite a strong economy. In contrast, product output rose 13.5% in the same period to 2.75m b/d. Exports increased from just over 384k b/d to 642k b/d in April-October. India forecasts an increase in its oil product exports to 1.87m b/d in 2012, reports Argus.
Russia Crude Exports Set To Fall in February
Russia's seaborne crude exports are set to fall in February by over 115k b/d month-on-month to just over 3m b/d, due to the arrival of the long-delayed winter, reports Energy Intelligence. Primorsk is scheduled to handle 1.5m b/d in Feb, relatively unchanged on the month. It could see even higher volumes in the future, as Moscow is looking into constructing a new 1m b/d pipeline to the port as a result of the recent row with Belarus over energy supplies. The Black Sea port of Novorossiysk is due to see an 85k b/d drop in February loadings to 880k b/d, despite carrying over 3 cargoes totalling 89k b/d from January, reports Energy Intelligence.
US Gasoline and Crude Stocks Up, Distillate Down
US gasoline stocks jumped another 3.8m bbl to 224.6m bbl, 2.5% higher year-on-year and the highest since 3 March 2006, according to the latest data from the US Department of Energy. Imports were 364k b/d higher at 1.275m b/d, 36% up on the year, while demand rose 82k b/d to just over 9m b/d. Distillate inventories fell 2.6m bbl to 140m bbl while imports dipped 72k b/d to 364k b/d and demand surged 433k b/d to over 4.5m b/d. Crude stocks rose another 2.7m bbl to 324.9m bbl as imports increased 159k b/d to 9.97m b/d, 3.9% up on the year.
US SPR to rise
In his State of the Union address at the start of 2006, President Bush called for the US is to double its strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) from 727m bbl to 1.5 billion bbl by 2027, the equivalent of 97 days worth of imports. The government will begin by purchasing about 11m bbl of replacement crude this spring, adding oil at a rate of around 100k b/d. Bush also wants to reduce US gasoline demand by 20% over 10 years through improved vehicle fuel standards and greater use of alternative fuels such as ethanol. This follows a 15% rise in American gasoline demand over the last 10 years.
Mexico's December Crude Output At 5-Year Low
Mexico's crude oil production and exports dropped sharply in December, with output down 185k b/d month-on-month to average 2.98m b/d, the first time levels have been below 3m b/d since Oct 2001, reports Energy Intelligence. The decline was centred on offshore heavy production, as output and exports of onshore grades increased. Total annual production was 2.3% lower on the year at an average 3.26m b/d. Crude exports fell 258k b/d on the month to 1.5m b/d, the lowest since Jan 2000, but total annual volumes inched 0.2% higher to 1.79m b/d. N. American destinations suffered the lowest export drop due to fog and other problems in the Houston Ship Channel, reports Energy Intelligence.
Evidence of Rising Iron Ore Imports into China
Indian iron ore fob prices are rising, providing a clear signal of increasing Chinese demand. FOB prices have risen $3/t since the end of 2006 to stand at $58.50/t, representing an increase of 18% over the same time last year and equating to a delivered price in China of $79.50/t. Meanwhile, iron ore stockpiles at Chinese discharge ports have climbed above 40 Mt for the first time since October. Together, the two developments suggest that iron ore purchasing is on the increase in China as buyers look to import iron ore ahead of the contract price increase.
US Oil Stocks Continue To Grow
US crude stocks rose another 0.7m bbl last week to 322.2m bbl, despite imports dropping 1.2m b/d to 9.8m b/d, 6% higher year-on-year, according to the latest data from the US Department of Energy. Gasoline inventories jumped 4m bbl to 220.8m bbl, 2.8% higher on the year, regardless of a 124k b/d fall in imports to 911k b/d, mainly due to a 52k b/d dip in demand. Distillate stocks rose 0.7m bbl to 142.6m bbl, 4.5% higher on the year, as imports increased 159k b/d to 436k b/d, offsetting the 129k b/d rise in demand following the cold spell. Refinery utilisation inched 0.5% lower to 87.4%.
US To Double Strategic Petroleum Reserve
President Bush has called for the US is to double its strategic petroleum reserve from 727m bbl to 1.5 billion bbl by 2027, the equivalent of 97 days worth of imports, reports Reuters. The government will begin by purchasing about 11m bbl of replacement crude this spring, adding oil at a rate of around 100k b/d. Bush also wants to reduce gasoline demand by 20% over 10 years through improved vehicle fuel standards and greater use of alternative fuels such as ethanol, reports Reuters.
Newcastle Vessel Queue At 52
The vessel queue at Newcastle currently stands at 52, according to McCloskey. This represents a fall from last week's total of 56. However, the estimated vessel waiting time has risen over the last week to 22.2 days from 21.6 days. SSY's Australian Coal Port Congestion Index, which takes into account berthing delays at all major coal ports in the country, puts average delays at 13.8 days, a 35-month high.
Aluminium Output in 2006
World aluminium production grew registered annual growth of 6.3% in 2006, according to the latest data from the International Aluminium Institute. The expansion was driven by China, where output rose almost 20% on the previous year to 9.4 Mt (out of a global total of 33.2 Mt). Growth was supplemented by production capacity expansion in India and the Middle East. As a result, aluminium production in the Asia/Middle East region grew over 11% to 3.5 Mt.
World Oil Stocks Drop In December
Commercial global oil inventories fell 77m bbl month-on-month in December, or 2.48m b/d, to 4.97m bbl, according to preliminary data from Energy Intelligence. OECD stocks accounted for 70m bbl of the drop, although levels were still 45m bbl higher year-on-year and nearly 100m bbl higher than the end of December 2004. Modest refinery runs contributed to a small 9m bbl drop in product stocks, while OPEC output cuts helped to relieve OECD December inventories of 40m bbl of crude. By the end of 2006, OECD stocks covered 53 days of forward demand, up from 52 days in 2005 and 50 in 2004, reports Energy Intelligence.
Record Azeri Light Loadings Forecast At Ceyhan In February
A record 530k b/d of Azeri Light is due to load at Ceyhan in February, up 28% on the January programme, reports Petroleum Argus. Over recent months, Indian, Indonesian and US refiners have emerged as frequent buyers of Azeri Light. Refiners have become increasingly dependent on low-sulphur crudes due to more stringent sulphur specifications for transport fuels while Pacific refiners have limited desulphurisation capacity, reports Argus.
World Steel Output Grows 9% in 2006
World steel production rose 9.0% in 2006 to 1.217 billion tonnes, according to International Iron and Steel Institute data released today. Once again, China provided the greatest impetus for growth with annual production of 418.8 Mt (+18.5% on 2005).
December saw strong global year-on-year output growth of 9.5%, with impressive rates of increase in China (+19% to 38.1 Mt), Japan (+11% to 10.1 Mt), India (+11% to 3.9 Mt), Russia (+8% to 6.4 Mt) and the EU-25 (+6% to 15.8 Mt). However, voluntary production cuts in the US resulted in December output falling 11% on the same month last year to 7.0 Mt.
Colombian Coal Exports Up 3.7 Mt
Colombia exported 58.3 Mt of coal in 2006, representing growth of 3.7 Mt from the previous year, according to McCloskey. Volume growth was achieved despite a month-long period of industrial action in the 2q06, which impacted shipments. The majority of exports were bound for the US (20.2 Mt, +2.5 Mt year-on-year) and Europe (31.9 Mt, +1.1 Mt).
OPEC Cuts Its Oil Demand Growth Forecast
OPEC has revised downwards its estimate for growth in world oil demand this year to 1.5%, or 1.25m b/d, to reach 85.39m b/d, while lowering growth for 2006 to 1% owing to mild temperatures. In its latest monthly report, OPEC projects that developing countries will account for 90% of the growth in the 1Q07. Non-OPEC supply is expected to average 50.9m b/d in 2007, 1.3m b/d higher than 2006 after adjusting figures retroactively to exclude Angola. Including Angola, December total OPEC crude output averaged 30.2m b/d. The call for OPEC crude in 2006 is expected to average 30.3m b/d, including Angola, and is forecast to drop to 30.1m b/d in 2007.
Strike Affecting Port Kamsar
The week-long strike by bauxite miners in Guinea appears to have intensified, Reuters reports. The industrial action at a mine owned by CBG is part of a general strike aimed at removing the country's president from power. According to a CBG official quoted by Reuters, the action has brought production and railing of bauxite to Port Kamsar to a halt.
US Oil Stocks Grow
US crude stocks jumped 6.8m bbl last week to 321.5m bbl, relatively unchanged year-on-year after imports surged 1.55m b/d to nearly 11.1m b/d, according to the latest data from the US Department of Energy. Gasoline inventories were up 3.5m bbl to 216.8m bbl, 2.4% higher on the year as imports inched slightly higher at just over 1m b/d. Demand dropped 141k b/d to just over 9m b/d. Distillate stocks rose 0.9m bbl to 141.9m bbl, 5.3% up on the year despite imports falling 198k b/d to 227k b/d, 40.4% lower than the same week last year. Distillate demand was 3.7% lower on the year at 3.98m b/d. Refinery utilisation dropped 3.6% to 87.9%.
China's Coal Imports Benefit Pacific Market
Official Chinese customs statistics confirm that coal imports into the country rose to 38.2 Mt in 2006, over 10 Mt more than the 2005 import total. The pace of imports generally increased through the course of the year, with 4q06 imports alone accounting for 12.1 Mt. Surging domestic demand has led China to seek additional cargoes from such destinations as Indonesia, benefiting vessel demand in the Pacific.
Meanwhile, cement exports from China in 2006 reached 36.1 Mt, up 14 Mt on 2005 and over five times the 2004 total. However, exports in December declined for the fourth consecutive month to 2.5 Mt compared with a peak of 4.3 Mt in August.
Poland's Coal Exports Expected to Decline in 2007
Poland's coal exports in 2007 will total 13-15 Mt, representing falls on both 2006 (when exports were estimated at 15.3 Mt) and 2005 (18.6 Mt), according to a "Poland-based coal official" quoted by Platts. Of the projected 2007 export total, only around 6 Mt are likely to be seaborne, with the majority being railed to destinations in central Europe. The anticipated decline in Poland's export volume is thought to be a result of higher domestic demand for electricity generated by the country's coal-fired power stations. The report added that Poland would therefore only have a "limited" quantity of coal available for export in the 1q07.
Oil Output In The US Gulf Set To Rise
Oil production in the US Gulf of Mexico is set to return to the peak levels attained before the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, reports Energy Intelligence. As well as restored output previously lost to hurricane damage, additional volumes will come from the delayed start-up of BP's Atlantis deepwater field which holds more than 600m barrels of reserves. Atlantis is now scheduled for a mid-2007 start-up and output is expected to reach 180k b/d. As a result of the hurricanes, Gulf of Mexico oil production fell to 1.28m b/d in 2005 but the US Department of Energy is forecasting output of 1.55m b/d for 2007, reports Energy Intelligence.
Indian Industrial Production Growth Fastest in 11 Years
In a reminder of the rapid expansion of India's industrial sector, government data show industrial production rising at an annual rate of 14.4% in November. This is the fastest rate of growth for 11 years, according to Bloomberg. A statement from India's Central Statistical Organisation estimates that industrial production comprises around 25% of the country's gross domestic product.
Customs Data From China
Coal exports from China during 2006 fell to 63.3 Mt compared with 71.7 Mt last year, according to unconfirmed Chinese customs data. This has prompted traditional buyers of Chinese coal in NE Asia to meet their coal requirements from longer-haul sources, such as Indonesia, thereby boosting tonne-mile demand in the Pacific.
Meanwhile, soyabean imports into China reached 28.2 Mt in 2006, registering year-on-year growth of 1.5 Mt, according to the unconfirmed data. This was achieved despite the monthly totals for November and December being lower than during the same months in 2005.