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Most Middle East fuel shipments to Asia in 2014

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to Bloomberg, Persian Gulf oil refineries are poised to ship the largest amount of gasoline and other fuels to Asia in eight months, following their biggest expansion in decades.

Tanker bookings compiled by Bloomberg show that traders hired ships in the spot market to load 3.91 million t of refined petroleum in the four weeks to 10 August. This figure, which is the highest since December, does not capture shipments organized under long term charters. In addition, shipbrokers do not report all transactions.

Bloomberg highlights that Middle East nations, led by Saudi Arabia, are increasing their ability to refine oil and profit from the higher prices that processed fuels can fetch. The region will add 815 000 bpd of capacity by the end of this year, according to estimated from JBC Energy GmbH.

Michael Dei-Michei of JBC Energy said: “We see this increased flow of cargoes to Asia as a structural change that is likely to carry on for a few years. Refinery intake growth at countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman has been pretty impressive so far this year”.

Asia’s importance as a source of demand is rising. China’s gasoline demand increased 16% in June and consumption of middle distillates such as diesel advanced 6.9%, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

Meanwhile, the European market is in decline. Gasoline demand has dropped by 20% over the last five years, according to Fuels Europe figures and middle distillates, gasoil and kerosene have dropped by 7%.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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