Port Hedland shuts on cyclone
Port Hedland suspended loading operations for 12-24 hours on Wednesday as tropical cyclone Bianca swept southwest parallel to the northwest Australian coast, Reuters reports. At midday GMT, the cyclone had passed Port Hedland and was level with Dampier progressing along the Pilbara coast, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. It is currently expected to intensify overnight and move away from the coast to the west.
Coal Deliveries to Gladstone Port Improving
Coal deliveries to the Australian port of Gladstone are expected to reach 72% of typical pre-flood levels this week, according the Port Corporation. The port is due to receive 18 trains per day this week which compares a normal daily average of 25. As a result the port authority expects to load 0.5 Mt of coal this week and for the coal stockpile to be back over the 1 Mt mark by the end of next week. 11 vessels are currently at anchor with a further seven scheduled to arrive in the next ten days, according to the port.
North Sea 2010 Crude Output Down 9.6% Year-On-Year
North Sea crude oil output averaged 3.27 mb/d during 2010, a 348 kb/d decline from the year before, Argus reports. Norwegian production fell by 197 kb/d yoy to 1.87 mb/d as output declines from mature fields were exacerbated by unplanned shutdowns. UK average output of 1.13 mb/d represents a 134 kb/d fall over the same period. A number of new fields are due to begin production during 2011 and 2012, which will go some way to offset declines at existing fields.
South Korea Coal Imports
Imports of coal to South Korea totalled 118.6 Mt in 2010, 15.6 Mt higher than in 2009 according to data from the country's customs service. Indonesia remained South Korea's main supplier of steam coal and imports from the country increased 21.5% to 40.7 Mt. This helped total imports of steam coal rise 9.1% to 87.8 Mt in 2010. Imports of coking coal rose 46.1% to 23.4 Mt over the period led by a 43.7% increase in shipments from Australia to 13.5 Mt.
Transatlantic Crude Shipments Down In January
Higher European demand is limiting the volume of Atlantic basin crude that is heading transatlantic this month, Argus reports. A combined 390 kb/d of Forties, Ekofisk, Urals, BTC Blend, Kirkuk and Saharan Blend (grades that are priced in relation to Atlantic basin marker North Sea Dated) are set to head to North America this month, down from 940 kb/d in December. Compared with a usual 150 kb/d, no Forties is due to cross the Atlantic this month. Meanwhile, shipments of Algerian grade, Saharan Blend, to North America are scheduled to fall to 180 kb/d in January, down from 510 kb/d the month before. On top of higher European demand, shipments have been limited by lower demand from US refineries preparing for maintenance shutdowns.
World Crude Steel Production
Latest data from World Steel Association show a 1% increase in global crude steel production in December on the previous month. Production last month amounted to 116.2 Mt, which was 8.4 Mt higher than in the same month in 2009. Total global crude steel production in 2010 was 1,395.5 Mt, 15% higher than in the previous year.
Month-on-month increases were seen in the majority of steel producing regions including the US (+0.3 Mt to 6.7 Mt), China (+1.4 Mt to 51.5 Mt) and Japan (+0.2 Mt to 9.2 Mt). However in the EU, production fell from the previous month (-1.7 to 13.0 Mt).
CPC Blend Exports Set to Increase In February
According to the latest loading schedule, exports of CPC Blend from the terminal near Novorossiysk will average 715 kb/d in February, a 52 kb/d increase from scheduled export volumes this month. The rise is attributed to larger shipments along the pipeline from Russian suppliers Rosneft and TNK-BP.
Chinese Steel Production
Crude steel output in China in December reached its highest level since August at 51.52 Mt, according to National Bureau of Statistics. This marks a gain of 1.4 Mt on November. Decembers improved output took the annual output total to 626.7 Mt (representing growth of 58.9 Mt on the previous year).
Chinese Refinery Runs Reach Another New Record in December
The latest data from the country's National Bureau of Statistics reveal that a record 9.16 mb/d of crude oil was processed at Chinese refineries during December. This represents a new monthly record, surpassing the 8.95 mb/d processed during November. December's inputs are also 980 kb/d higher than the same month a year earlier. The rise has been attributed to refiners' efforts to restock product inventories following recent diesel shortages, as well as increased throughputs at Petrochina's Liaoyang refinery, the capacity of which has been increased in order to process volumes received along the recently opened ESPO pipeline spur from Russia. Refiners received a further incentive to raise runs in December, when the government increased the domestic price of both mogas and diesel. Chinese diesel production reached 14.64 million MT last month, up 1.39 million MT yoy and a new monthly record, whilst mogas production increased by 280,000 MT yoy to 6.9 million MT.
US Crude Rise As Runs Fall
According to the EIA's latest Weekly Petroleum Status Report, US crude inventories rose by 2.6 MB last week to 335.7 MB, as crude runs at the country's refineries fell by 389 kb/d from a week earlier to average 14.34 mb/d. Crude imports were practically unchanged at 9.00 mb/d. Overall, refineries were run at 83.0% of total capacity, down from 86.4% the week before. Meanwhile, mogas stocks increased by 4.4 MB to 227.7 MB, but imports fell 149 kb/d to 722 kb/d. Distillate stocks were up 1.0 MB to 165.8 MB, whilst imports dropped 127 kb/d to 241 kb/d.
Russian Coal Exports Down 2.2% from November
Seaborne exports of coal from Russia's major ports fell 2.2% month-on-month in December to a total of 5.29 Mt, according to port trades data quoted by Reuters. However, shipments from Vostochny in the far east of the country rose 26.2% month-on-month to 1.2 Mt.
December Coal Imports into China Reach New High
Imports of coal to China rose to a fresh monthly high of 17.34 Mt in December, a 25% month-on-month increase, according to China's Customs Statistics. This takes the 2010 total to 166.3 Mt, 39.62 Mt more than the previous record high in 2009. Coal exports in December were 1.45 Mt taking the 2010 total to 19.0 Mt, 15% lower than in 2009. The data includes overland movements and a breakdown is not yet available
IEA Oil Demand Forecasts Revised Up
In its latest Oil Market Report, the IEA has revised up its global oil demand forecast for 2010 and 2011 by 320 kb/d to 87.7 mb/d (up 2.7 mb/d yoy) and 89.1 mb/d (up 1.4 mb/d yoy) respectively. The revisions are attributed primarily to strong economic growth in all OECD regions, as well as in key non-OECD areas. Recent cold weather in the northern hemisphere also contributed, although less significantly.
Argentine Farmers Stop Grain Sales
Farmers of wheat, corn and soyabeans in Argentina have begun a seven day strike and halted sales of their grains, Reuters reports. The strike is expected to last until midnight on January 23 and is over government export quotas aimed at tackling the country's inflation. While the main Argentinean harvest season is yet to begin, sales have been proceeding at a faster rate than is normal in recent weeks, due to worries over lower yields and rising prices.
Eastbound Shipments of West African Crude to Increase in February
Asia-Pacific demand for West African crude jumped to 1.9 mb/d for February-loading cargoes, up from 1.7 mb/d in January, on strong distillate demand in the region. The Chinese diesel supply crisis has eased, but stockpiles remain low and the upcoming lunar new year, seasonal heating oil demand and cracker shutdowns are all pushing gasoil cracks above $15/bbl. This has encouraged lifting of WAFR grades, despite a widening premium for these grades relative to MEG crudes. With Bonny Light now trading above $100/bbl, its premium to Dubai is over $7/bbl, the highest since October 2008.
Australian Operations Update
Gladstone Port will resume coal loadings January 15, following the re-opening of several lines on the Moura rail system, according to the Gladstone Ports Corporation cited by Reuters. Current stockpiles of coal at Galdstone amount to 400,000 tonnes, according to the Ports Corporation. The port of Brisbane remains shut to all commercial shipping according to the Port Authority, obstructions have been located in the waterway and the port hopes to remove these on January 15.
Russia's Seaborne Crude Exports To Fall
Russia's seaborne crude exports are scheduled to drop to 2.52 mb/d in January, the lowest since November 2008, reports Argus. Gdansk is not listed to export any crude this month, while shipments from Primorsk are set to slump by 211 kb/d month-on-month to 1.27 mb/d due to repairs on the pipeline leading to the port. Rosneft will be cutting volumes by 300 KT, or 71 kb/d, to free-up crude for the start of deliveries of 300 kb/d to China through the new pipeline spur. Exports from Black Sea ports are set to rise to 978 kb/d, with most of the additional crude being loaded at Novorossiysk. ESPO Blend exports are scheduled to fall from December to 281 kb/d.
A new cyclone, Zelia, formed off Australia's east coast, its current path is not forecast to have an impact on the Northeast coast of Australia, however it is expected to increase in intensity as it heads towards the southeast, according to the Australian bureau of meteorology.
CPC Exports Reach Record Annual High in 2010, Record Monthly High in December
Last year saw record volumes shipped along the CPC Pipeline, Platts reports. A total of 34.9 million MT(701 kb/d) was shipped along the line during 2010, up nearly 1% yoy, and a record annual amount. December also set a record for monthly shipments, with exports along the line reaching 3.21 million MT (759 kb/d).
Railway to Port of Gladstone Expected To Open Next Week
The Blackwater rail network that connects 20 mines in Australia with the port of Gladstone is expected to re-open next week, Bloomberg reports. QR National, which operates the line hopes to resume operations as early as January 20 having shut the line on December 27. Meanwhile, the Port of Brisbane remains shut to all commercial traffic, according to the Port Authority. Priority shipping may resume on Sunday but this will be subject to local conditions which the Harbour Master is continuing to monitor.
China, US HRB Steel Prices Hit 28 Month Highs
Export prices for hot rolled band in both China and the US have risen to fresh 28 month highs of $591/t and $805/t respectively according to the latest SteelBenchmarker issued by World Steel Dynamics. HRB prices in China rose $15/t from the end of December while prices in the US saw the biggest fortnightly gain, surging $53/t to $805/t. Meanwhile, the HRB price in the EU rose $5/t from two weeks ago to $701/t and the World HRB price was $667/t, $12/t higher than on December 29
US Weekly Data: Product Stocks Rise As Imports Recover, Crude Inventories Down
According to the latest data from the EIA, US crude inventories fell by 2.2 MB to 333.1 MB last week. Crude imports rose by 449 kb/d to 8.90 mb/d over the same period, whilst crude inputs at the country's refineries were down by 260 kb/d to 14.73 mb/d. Overall, refineries were operated at 86.4% of total capacity, down from 88.0% the week before. Both mogas and distillate stocks saw significant increases last week, after imports made up falls from the week before. Mogas inventories reached 223.2 MB, a 5.1 MB increase, as imports rose by 358 kb/d to 871 kb/d. A 212 kb/d rise in distillate imports to 368 kb/d, saw inventories build by 2.7 MB to 164.8 MB.
Trans Alaskan Pipeline Expected to Restart This Week, After Spill
According to industry sources, Alaska's main oil pipeline is expected to recommence operations later this week, having been shut down after developing a leak over the weekend, Reuters reports. The pipeline's operator, Alyeska, intends to bypass the defective part of the line with a substitute stretch of pipe. The disruption to the 600 kb/d line has effectively put on hold 12% of US oil production, leading to speculation that refiners on the West Coast would be forced to increase imports if the line remained closed for an extended period of time.
Diesel Shortages See Chinese Product Imports Rise In December, Crude
Preliminary trade data from Chinese customs reveals that Chinas
December petroleum product imports rose by 440 KT from the month
before, and by 660 KT yoy to 3.96 MT. The increased demand came about
as firms made efforts to make up the recent diesel shortfalls. For the
same reason, product exports from China fell by 190 KT mom, and 1.78
MT yoy to 1.89 MT. Meanwhile, the countrys December crude imports of
4.93 mb/d represented slight falls of 18 kb/d mom and 9 kb/d yoy. As a
result, crude imports during 4q10 averaged 4.64 mb/d, a negligible 30
kb/d increase yoy, reflecting a stabilisation in refining capacity
growth, following large 2009 increases.
Japanese Crude Imports Surge In November
Japan imported 4.07 mb/d of crude oil during November, a 676 kb/d (20%) increase from the month before and a 396 kb/d (10.8%) rise year-on-year, Energy Intel reports. Saudi Arabia remains the country's main supplier, with November's shipment of 1.28 mb/d stable from the same month in 2009. Indonesia, Iran, Iraq and Qatar all saw a significant rise in their exports to Japan. Only the UAE and Kuwait saw a year-on-year decline in their shipments to the country.