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September 11, 2019

Volume 2 Issue 37

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SSY Base Oil Shipping Report

The United States market feels quieter this week. Nothing much has changed in Europe, but in Asia prompt space has tightened, probably as a result of consecutive typhoons and all the associated delays.

Americas

The market to the Caribbean is mostly an unchanged picture in terms of tonnage supply this week, with scheduled carriers having little space, while a couple of prompt stainless units are still around in the area. A couple of ethanol tenders were awarded this week, with a prompt requirement of up to 13,000 cubic meters awarded to the U.S. Gulf supply for prompt loading, and 9,500 cbm for second half September delivery to Cartagena, Spain, going to the same suppliers.

Traders were looking at 1,500 tons of caustic to Santo Tomas, Spain, but appear to have shelved the requirement for the time being. Three shipments each of 3,500 to 4,000 tons metric tons of palm oil were quoted from New Orleans to Veracruz, Mexico, with the first shipment expected in October and the other two through the balance of the year. Eleven thousand tons of renewable diesel was covered from New Orleans to Sarnia, Canada.

Spot demand to South America is reasonably healthy, allowing owners to fill out their ships once contractual nominations have been received. Thirteen thousand tons of base oils and chemicals to Brazil were covered, reportedly in the mid- to high-$80s/t. Several traders were out looking to cover a tender for 5,000 tons of styrene into Santos, Brazil, for September. Four thousand tons of caustic was looking for prompt space to Paranagua, Brazil. A requirement for 10,000 tons of caustic and 10,000 tons of ethylene dichloride to Maceio, Brazil, for loading in the U.S. Gulf in mid-October is still outstanding.

An enquiry to ship 20,000 cbm of ethanol to Brazil from the U.S. Gulf in mid-September, however, is on hold. Meanwhile, 4,500 to 6,000 tons of urea ammonia nitrate was quoted from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, to Chile, and a parcel of base oils is understood to be enquiring into Barranquilla, Colombia. For the first half of September, 12,500 tons of ethanol was quoted from the U.S. Gulf to Barranquilla.

Cargoes of styrene, glycol and ethanol are routinely quoted to Europe. Otherwise, 1,500 tons tons of speciality base oils were mentioned from the U.S. Atlantic Coast to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, and 1,200 tons of amines were seen from Plaquemines to Antwerp for mid-October delivery.

It has been a quiet week to Asia, with just a scattering of new inquiries recorded on the spot market. However, contractual volumes are healthy, keeping scheduled space relatively tight.

It remains rather slow on routes to the India to Middle East Gulf region, and there are ships that still have prompt space, albeit zinc coated in one case and epoxy in another.

Europe

It has been a rather slow week in the North Sea and Baltic region in terms of new business. However, owners typically have one to two voyages in-hand for their ships and are therefore able to keep freight levels unchanged. Moreover, with bunker prices for marine gas oil running at around $550 per metric ton FOB Rotterdam, voyage costs are down, and margins are slightly higher.

Business is ticking over on southbound routes. A few ships are still seeking prompt completion cargoes, but owners have been able to cover the majority of vessels. Five thousand tons of ethylene dichloride is being attempted from Stade, Germany, to Aliaga, Turkey. One thousand five hundred tons of styrene was quoted from Rotterdam to Berre, France. Two thousand tons of orthoxylene concluded from Gonfreville, France to Genoa, Italy. Another shipment of 5,000 tons of ethanol was booked to Italy. Ten thousand of FAME was done from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to the Black Sea, and 5,000 tons of biodiesel was fixed from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to French Mediterranean.

Three thousand to three thousand five hundred tons of paraxylene was quoted from Rotterdam to Iskenderun, and another shipment of paraxylene and normal parrafins was sent to Sines, Portugal, and Augusta, Sicily, from Kotka. Five thousand tons of methanol from Rotterdam to East Mediterranean paid low $40s/t. Three thousand to four thousand tons of ammonium thiosulphate from Rouen to Black Sea was an interesting possibility.

Demand is reasonable on northbound routes. Four thousand tons of base oils were noted from Augusta to Rotterdam, and 15,000 tons of methanol was spotted from Marsa, Malta, to Rotterdam for the end of September. Four thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline from Rijeka, Croatia, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam seems to have been covered. Fourteen thousand tons of reformate from Taranto to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam yielded $275,000. Seven thousand tons of caustic fixed from Odessa, Ukraine, to Finland, and further caustic cargoes were quoted to Belfast in Ireland, Cardiff in Wales and Santander in Spain from Fos-Lavera, France.

Three thousand tons of benzene was heard from Lavera, France, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, and 5,000 tons of benzene was quoted from Sarroch, Italy, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. Five thousand six hundred tons of base oils were fixed from Livorno, Italy, and Cartagena to La Rochelle, France. Five thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline was seen from Priolo, Italy, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam or Barcelona. One thousand tons of high heat base oils are being attempted from Aliaga, Turkey, to Le Havre, France, for mid-September and mid-October.

Within the Mediterranean, most ships are occupied for one to two voyages ahead, but very few ships have made it through to the end of September so far. Nevertheless, owners are bullish on rates – 5,000 tons of biodiesel from Cadiz to Barcelona, Spain, was fixed at $90,000, and 5,000 tons of biodiesel from Cartagena to Adriatic saw levels in the €30 to €35/t region. Four thousand tons of base oils from Cartagena to Ashdod, Israel, were worked at over €200,000. Three thousand tons of base oils Cartagena to Livorno were booked, and several shipments of caustic were fixed from Port Said, Egypt, to Italy.

There was less fresh transatlantic business around this week, and instead it was a case of covering older requirements, such as 10,000 tons of biodiesel from Hamburg, Germany, to Port Everglades, Florida, and 8,000 tons of caustic from Rotterdam to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Savannah, Georgia. Eight thousand tons of calcium chloride from Antwerp, Belgium, to Wilmington, North Carolina was rumored fixed. Four thousand tons of wax from Fawley, U.K., to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went on subjects.

One thousand five hundred tons of epichlorohydrin was fixed from Rotterdam to the U.S. Gulf, while 1,200 tons of acetic anhydride was booked from Saltend, United Kingdom, to Philadelphia. Seventeen thousand tons of methanol seems to have fixed from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to the U.S. Gulf. Five thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline was seen from the west coast of Italy to the U.S. Gulf and 4,000 to 4,500 tons of solvents were quoted from Algeciras to Caribbean.

There is still a considerable amount of space to the Far East to be filled this month, but very little quoted, apart from 2,000 tons of hexamethylene diamine from Rotterdam to Ulsan, South Korea, and 1,500 tons of solvents Rotterdam to Taiwan or China. A possible base oil cargo is mooted from Antwerp to Singapore for October. Eight thousand tons of glycerine is testing freights from Rotterdam to mid China.

Space is readily available to India and the Middle East Gulf from both the Mediterranean and Continental Europe. The next lot of 3,000 tons of linear alkyl benzene was covered from Algeciras to the west coast of India, but there is still linear alkyl benzene being quoted from Alexandria. Five thousand to six thousand tons of base oils were noted from Rotterdam to Hamriyah, United Arab Emirates.

Asia

Typhoon follows typhoon, with yet another couple having formed and tracked up to Northeast Asia, causing delays and scheduling issues all over the region. September space now looks a lot tighter, with a growing number of ships posting October space only. It is likely that rates will firm as a result. Base oils are active, and there have been requirements for paraxylene, solvent naphtha C9, mixed xylenes, toluene, pyrolysis gasoline and MTBE.

Bad weather delays have also brought disruption on the southbound route, but with spot demand slow anyway, rates remain weak. More MTBE has been quoted into Southeast Asia but clean petroleum has dried up this week.

Space is rather tight northbound for September, and it has been necessary for some parcels to be re-quoted for a second week. Rates are expected to be firm for the rest of the month. A transhipment possibility of 3,000 tons of perchlorethone from Singapore to China was still around and 9,000 tons of benzene from Map Ta Phut, Thailand, to Kaohsiung was pushed around again for prompt loading. Six thousand tons of unconverted oil from Bangkok, Thailand to Ulsan was seen for October, while 3,000 tons clean petroleum was noted from Kemaman, Malaysia, to China. A large lot of paraxylene was booked from Singapore to China and a further 5,000 tons paraxylene was quoted to Zhuhai, China. Seven thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline was quoted from Map Ta Phut to China.

There is not as much prompt space around within Southeast Asia this week, but those ships that are prompt are having a difficult time to fill. The small clean petroleum market offers some alternative, especially within Indonesia, but rates are expected to be competitive. Biodiesel remains a possibility into China and the usual pyrolysis gasoline possibilities are there from Batangas, the Philippines. One thousand tons of base oils from Rayong, Thailand, to Ciwandan, Indonesia, were still uncovered.

With September more or less covered on the transpacific route from Asia, traders appear to be undecided about October benzene shipments. The market to Europe is busy. Several cargoes of around 15-20,000 tons biodiesel were booked from Southeast Asia, while 16,000 tons of used cooking oil methyl ester was fixed from Lianyungang and Zhuhai to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam in the high $70s/t, and mid $70s/t were heard on a further 12,000 tons from China.

A prompt 35,000 tons shipment of biodiesel was booked 3-China to South Spain, with a fresh requirement of 27,000 to 30,000 tons quoted from China and Taichung, Taiwan, to Europe for October, while numerous smaller parcels have been quoted from Southeast Asia and China. 6,000 tons of benzene was noted from Map Ta Phut to Gonfreville. With Malacca, Malaysia, undergoing a turnaround, 6,000 tons of base oils were fixed from Port Klang, Malaysia, to Antwerp for mid-September (around 6,000 tons base oils were also booked from Port Klang to Santos). Thirty thousand tons of sulfuric acid were noted from China to Morocco, and a bunch of small chemicals parcels were noted from Asia to Turkey.

Demand is decent in the regional trades in the India-Middle East Gulf region. Several large base oil requirements were quoted from the Red Sea, one of which was put on subjects in the mid $40s/t basis for 15,500 tons to Aqaba, Jordan, and Mumbai, while smaller lots of base oil were seen from Al Ruwais, U.A.E., to Kandla, India, and Sitra, Bahrain, to Mumbai. Eastbound is active with MTBE, methanol, caustic and aromatics. Ten thousand tons of base oils were quoted from Ruwais to Nantong, China.

Westbound saw 20,000 tons of paraxylene go from Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia to the U.S. Atlantic Coast, for which charterers’ ideas had been in the high $50s/t. Nine thousand tons of benzene were fixed from Mangalore, India, to Europe and several shipments of ethanol were booked from Karachi, Pakistan. Glycols are believed to have fixed from the Red Sea to Turkey, while 7,000 to 8,000 tons of pyrolysis gasoline was noted from Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. Three thousand tons of base oils were quoted from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Greece.

Adrian Brown, a senior market analyst for chemicals and base oils with SSY Shipbrokers, London, can be reached at fix@ssychems.com or +44 12 0750 7507. Information about SSY can be found at www.ssyonline.com. In the Houston office, Steve Rosenthal of SSY's Chemical Tanker Department can be reached directly at +1 (713) 652-2700 and Jordi Maymi in Singapore can be reached at +65 6854-7127.