Europe-U.S. June Gasoline Export Trade Seen at Six-Month High
June imports of gasoline to the U.S. tracked arriving on tankers loaded in Europe so far tally nearly 1.4 million metric tons (about 11.8 million bbls), the highest monthly volumes seen since December, and up 40% on official figures from 12 months ago, according to the OPIS Tanker Tracker.
The figure is based on existing vessels seen chartered so far in Europe to make the 12-day trans-Atlantic voyage, with it likely revealing further shipping fixtures that will load and arrive within the next three weeks. The OPIS Tanker Tracker tracks real-time gasoline exports from Europe to north America and West Africa by compiling information from brokers, traders and vessel satellite-tracking data.
The estimated June volumes compare to the 1.15 million tons of gasoline tracked arriving in the U.S. from Europe in May, and is 39% higher than 12 months ago, based on data from Eurostat, the European Commission's statistics agency. The latest Eurostat figures only go to December, showing monthly exports of gasoline with a research octane number from 95 through 98 were at 1.6 million tons, and averaged 1.3 million tons through 2014.
Gasoline exports from Europe are high because refiners there are accessing discounted crude from West Africa, amid an oversupply of oil in the Atlantic region, according to Oslo-based investment bank, Arctic Securities.
"The fact that U.S. gasoline demand is strengthened due to low pump prices means that the product tanker market will benefit as long as European refiners can access cheap feedstock - which again will end if or when the glut of West African crudes declines," an emailed report from Arctic Securities said.
Also reflecting higher demand for European gasoline in north America are the number of product tankers seen chartered on the spot market to load from Europe. Data from IHS Fairplay show that over May 44 tankers were booked to ship refined products from north west Europe to the U.S. east coast, compared to 31 tankers in April.
Europe is long gasoline and shipped just over 13.1 million tons (about 307,000 b/d) to the U.S. in 2014, according to Eurostat. U.S. government energy statistics showed in 2014 that blended gasoline componets from the biggest European suppliers included the U.K., at 74,000 b/d, while imports from Spain were at 41,000 b/d, and the Netherlands 45,000 b/d.