Port Hedland Iron Ore Exports Rebound
Iron ore exports from Port Hedland rose by 5.0 Mt on February to 24.9 Mt in March, port authority data show. The month’s total also marked a gain of 6.3 Mt on the year-ago level. Shipments to Japan increased to a 10-month high of 2.7 Mt, while exports to China and South Korea both were 19.1 Mt and 2.4 Mt, respectively.
Russian Seaborne Crude Exports to Surge in April
Russian seaborne crude exports will average 3.13 mb/d in April, a 260 kb/d mom and 251 kb/d yoy increase, according to Transneft loading programs. Baltic exports are set to rise by 323 kb/d mom and 194 kb/d to 1.96 mb/d. Black Sea shipments are scheduled to fall by 53 kb/d mom and 65 kb/d yoy to 756 kb/d. April’s rise in Urals shipments coincides with reduced European demand during peak refinery maintenance. This, and strong USG demand for sour crude, is boosting transatlantic flows, according to Argus. Shipments from the Pacific port of Kozmino are set to average 415 kb/d, down by 10 kb/d from March but up by 122 kb/d yoy.
Australian coal exports at 6-month low in February
Wet weather disrupted coal exports from Australia in February, trade data show. Exports fell for to 25.0 Mt, the lowest monthly level since August 2012. This was down 3.1 Mt from January and 7.1 Mt from the monthly all-time high reached in December 2012. Despite the recent slowing, year-on-year growth has been maintained with the February total marking a 2.7 Mt annual gain.
Brazil iron ore exports
Brazil exported 22.6 Mt of iron ore in March, marking a fall of 5.0 Mt year-on-year and a 2.2 Mt fall from the same month in 2011, according to trade ministry data. However, exports registered a month-on-month increase of 1.9 Mt.
As a result at 67.9 Mt the 1q13 was the lowest quarter for Brazil’s iron ore exports since the 2q09.
TransCanada to start open-season on Energy East Pipeline Project
TransCanada has opened a two-month window for interested parties to sign contracts to use its proposed Energy East Pipeline project, according to Reuters. The project would see 850 kb/d of Western Canadian crude shipped to the country’s east coast, reducing the need for refiners in the region to import seaborne volumes. If it receives sufficient interest, TransCanada will then seek regulatory approval, with a view to complete the project by end-2017.
Pegasus Pipeline closed after crude oil spill
ExxonMobil’s 96 kb/d Illinois - Texas Pegasus Pipeline ruptured on Friday, spilling Canadian Wabasca Heavy crude oil in the town of Mayflower, Arkansas, Reuters reports. The line has been closed since. The incident follows last Wednesday’s derailment of a crude-by-rail train carrying Canadian crude to the US and has intensified the debate over the environmental safety of overland deliveries of rising US and Canadian crude output. A prolonged closure of the line could tighten supply of heavy crude in the US Gulf. The premium of offshore US Gulf heavy grade, Mars to WTI has increased since the Pegasus spill.
Train carrying Canadian crude to US derails
A 94-car Canadian Pacific train carrying crude oil from Canada to the US derailed yesterday (27 March), resulting in the rupture of three tank cars and the spillage of 20,000 to 30,000 of crude oil, Reuters reports. This is the first such incident of a crude-by-rail spillage during a period of rapid growth in the volumes of crude carried by train in North America. According to the National Energy Board, an average of 40 kb/d of Canadian crude was shipped by rail to the US in 2012. These volumes are set to increase further as refiners look to secure supply of rising US and Canadian crude output.
West African crude loadings set to rise in April
Asian refiners are set to raise West African crude loadings in April by 75 kb/d on the month to over 1.8 mb/d, the highest monthly volume during the past 12 months, reports Argus. Indian demand is set to jump 120 kb/d on the month to 540 kb/d, with at least one refining unit in the country due back online in April. Indian loadings have been reduced in January-April to about 470 kb/d due to regular disruptions to Nigerian supply, its main source of crude. Volumes to China are set to fall by 130 kb/d from the record-equalling levels in March to just over 1 mb/d.
World steel export prices at 2-month low
The world export price of hot rolled band declined further, down by $13/t over the last two weeks to $591/t at the end of March, according to the latest SteelBenchmarker published by World Steel Dynamics. This marked the lowest level over the past two months. Declines have emerged in worldwide: HRB prices in China and the EU both declined to their year-to-date lows of $529/t and $633/t, respectively, while HRB prices in the US retreated by $6/t two weeks ago to $678/t.
China revises fuel-pricing mechanism
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is changing the mechanism that dictates maximum retail fuel prices in the country, Bloomberg reports. Alterations to maximum gasoline and diesel prices will now be based on a ten-day moving average of the price of a basket of crudes. Previously, a 22-day average was used. Furthermore, the 4% change in crude oil prices previously required to trigger an adjustment has been abolished, meaning that changes to retail fuel prices will more closely follow crude price movements. The NDRC is reserving its right not to change fuel prices under ‘significant’ circumstances. As of tomorrow, maximum retail prices for gasoline and diesel will be lowered to reflect recent declines in crude oil prices.
Further increases in FSU gasoil exports in February
Gasoil exports from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) reached a three and a half year high of 1.03 mb/d in February, a 141 kb/d increase from January and up by 136 kb/d yoy, according to data provided by Argus. Total product exports from the FSU averaged 3.21 mb/d, up by 266 kb/d mom and by 394 kb/d yoy.
Colombian coal exports hit 10-year low in February
Colombian coal exports fell sharply by 53% month-on-month to 2.9 Mt in February, representing the lowest monthly exports since February 2003, according to data from IHS McCloskey. This was mainly due to a series of supply-side disruptions (including industrial action and regulatory rulings) and marks a sharp contrast with February 2012 when 6.9 Mt were exported. Shipments to Europe were 2.0 Mt, down by 63% year-on-year, while exports to the Americas fell by 36% from the year-ago to 0.9 Mt. Deliveries to the Far East were zero, compared with 0.2 Mt in February 2012.
Chinese steel inventories
According to data released by the Chinese Iron and Steel Association, inventories of China’s main steel products in the major steel markets were down 2% week on week to 22.1 Mt, representing the first decrease for 14 weeks. However, inventories are 3.9 Mt higher compared to the same week of 2012.
South Korean crude runs, product exports rise in February
South Korean crude imports averaged 2.85 mb/d in February, up by 212 kb/d from January and by 61 kb/d yoy, according to KNOC data. Crude runs at the country’s refineries averaged 2.70 mb/d, down by 8 kb/d mom but up by 83 kb/d yoy. South Korean product exports reached 1.28 mb/d, up by 40 kb/d mom and by 47 kb/d yoy.
US weekly steel production
According to data from the American Iron and Steel Institute, US steel production fell to 1.785 Mt from 1.828 Mt in the previous week. This also represents a fall of 10% from the same week of 2012.
Higher-than-expected output brings forward Forties cargo loadings
Three of the 20 Forties cargoes set for shipment in April have had their loading dates brought forward, with more expected to follow, according to Reuters. The advancements have come about as a result of higher-than-expected production at fields that feed into the Forties stream. The 200 kb/d Buzzard field, plagued by technical difficulties last year, is reportedly operating at full capacity, whilst the 140 kb/d Elgin-Franklin field, which provides 70 kb/d of condensate for the Forties stream, has returned to service after being shut for a year.
Phillips 66 signs further deals to increase supply of US/Canadian crude to its refineries
Phillips 66 has announced a series of deals that will improve its US refineries’ access to rising output of domestic and Canadian crude, Reuters reports. As part of an agreement with Enbridge Energy, the firm will start shipping crude by rail from Berthold, North Dakota to its refineries on the US East, West and Gulf coasts in May. Movements are expected to reach 40 kb/d by November. A deal with Targa Resources will see 30 kb/d of US and Canadian crude unloaded from rail cars at Tacoma, Washington, before being loaded onto barges for delivery to the 100 kb/d Ferndale, Washington refinery. An agreement has also been reached with Magellan Midstream to provide Phillips 66’s 198 kb/d Ponca City, Oklahoma refinery with Mississippian Lime crude, replacing West Texas Intermediate at the facility. Flows will begin towards the end of this year, reaching 20 kb/d by January 2014.
Petrobras confirms Abreu e Lima refinery scheduled to begin operations in November 2014
The chief executive of Brazilian state oil company, Petrobras, has said that the company expects the 155 kb/d Abreu e Lima refinery to begin operations in November 2014, reports Dow Jones. Construction of the facility is now reportedly 70% complete. The project, a joint venture with Venezuelan state oil firm, PdVSA, was originally scheduled for completion in 2011, but has been repeatedly delayed as a result of financing difficulties. According to the report, PdVSA has still yet to secure loans for its 40% share of the project.
Japanese crude steel production at 3.5-year low
Japan produced 8.3 Mt of crude steel in February, down by 6% month-on-month and 3% year-on-year, according to the latest update from the country’s Iron and Steel Federation. February’s output marked the lowest monthly level since September 2009. However, total crude production in the first two months of the year was almost unchanged from the corresponding period in 2012, at 17.2 Mt.
Strike reduces Libyan crude output
A strike at the Gialo oil field has led to a 120 kb/d reduction in Libyan crude production, Reuters reports. The field is connected to the Es Sider export terminal by pipeline which has been shut as a result of the output cut. According to the IEA, Libyan crude production averaged 1.40 mb/d in February.
Chinese steel price & daily steel production
The price of Chinese wire rod fell by $13/t week-on-week to $556/t, some $108/t below the level seen at the same time last year, representing the lowest level since end November, according to World Steel Dynamics.
Meanwhile, daily crude steel production at member companies of the China Iron & Steel Association rose to a new record of 2.08 Mt in the first 10 days of March. This exceeded the previous peak daily rate of 2.05 Mt in early May 2012.
Mexican crude production and exports stable in January
Mexican crude output average 2.56 mb/d in January, a 2 kb/d increase from December and up 40 kb/d yoy, according to data from Pemex. Exports averaged 1.29 mb/d, up 15 kb/d mom and 8 kb/d yoy. Exports to the US rose by 152 kb/d mom and 102 kb/d yoy to 1.01 mb/d, largely at the expense of shipments to Asia, which fell by 121 kb/d mom and by 89 kb/d to 31 kb/d.
Bill put to U.S. Senate that would give Congress power to approve Keystone XL
U.S senators from both the Democrat and Republican parties have introduced a bill that would give congress the power to approve the northern Alberta – Cushing portion of TransCanada’s 830 kb/d Keystone XL pipeline, Reuters reports. Approval for the project is currently the responsibility of the U.S. State Department. A decision has been pending for over four years.
IEA continues to forecast sluggish oil demand growth
In its latest monthly Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has made a slight downward revision of 40 kb/d to its global oil demand forecast for 2013. Consumption is now expected to average 90.62 mb/d this year, which would represent growth of 820 kb/d yoy. The report cites weaker Chinese business sentiment, rising European unemployment and structural concerns over the US economy as reasons for the comparatively sluggish rate of oil demand growth in 2013.
World steel price
After rising for five consecutive months, the world export price of hot rolled band retreated from two weeks ago, down by $4/t to $604/t, according to the latest SteelBenchmarker published by World Steel Dynamics. HRB prices in China and the EU both declined, slipping to $538/t (a year-to-date low) and $645/t (a 2-month low) respectively. However, HRB prices in the US rose from the 4-month low of $676/t at the end of February to $684/t.