- OPEC March exports dropped by 361 kbd m/m led by Libya, Iraq, Angola and Algeria declines.
- Flows tended to shift away from Asia in March. Much of the marginal change came from a flip in flows from East to West of the Suez for crude originating in Angola, Iran and Iraq.
- Libya battled disruptions across much of the nation-states western production and exportation areas in March.
- Exports leaving Iraq through the Persian Gulf dropped in March largely due to maintenance operations at the SPM 1 berth that has prevented ship loadings at the terminal since February 27th.
- Saudi loadings hit a three-month high in March, but the Q1 loading average remained nearly in line with Oil Ministry expectations.
- Venezuelan oil export volumes remain at levels not seen in more than 15 years.
- Nigerian flows decreased by 96 kbd m/m, the first such decline in 6 months.
Cove Point Update
Tokyo Gas’ Patris has updated her AIS for Cove Point, ETA 9-Apr. This could be the second cargo to be lifted from the plant. The vessel recently completed her maiden voyage. She was sub-chartered by Trafigura on a short-term basis to reload a cargo at Montoir 5-Feb. The cargo was delivered to GAIL at Dahej 23-Feb.
Diversion Alert: Where will the commissioning cargo be delivered?
Shell’s Gemmata departed from Cove Point 2-Mar with her course set towards the Cape of Good Hope. 9-Mar, the vessel slowed down her speed from 15.9 to 10.9 knots and remained in the same area for 2 days. Late evening 11-Mar, her course was changed and she is now headed towards Gibraltar at a speed of 14.6 knots.
15 VLGCs are currently ballasting in the Gulf of Mexico awaiting their turn to load.
4 of them next to HSC, 2 next to Freeport and remaining 9 further offshore.
5 VLGCs (under Trafigura, Shell, Total, Mabanaft and PEMEX) are currently loading from Targa and Enterprise terminals.
With only one ex-USGC vessel delivering LPG to Europe this week, Panama Canal remains a predominant “via point” for all U.S. cargoes.
DOW’s BW Cedar is transporting 45,000 mt of propane from Targa to Terneuzen, ETA 25-March.
2 Newly built MGCs: Geogas’ Enrico Fermi and Exmar’s Kapellen are now on the way to USGC to pick up their maiden cargoes on 28-March and 13-April respectively.
GAIL’s Meridian Spirit loaded at Sabine Pass 4-Mar. This was the first contract shipment to depart from Sabine Pass. GAIL has a primary contract for Train 4 of up to 3,5 mtpa. According to GAIL’s chairman and managing director, Mr. B C Tripathi, the cargo will be delivered at Dabhol end of March.
BP’s Methane Spirit indicated Cove Point per AIS on 15-Feb. She is currently idle near Singapore. According to kpler analysts, the vessel can not reach Cove Point at her given ETA. There are currently no other vessels confirmed to load the 2nd cargo at the newly commissioned plant.
U.S. Exports Pull Back Slightly
U.S. exports pulled back considerably for week-ending 2/23, down 405 kbd w/w to finish at 1,341 kbd. For the second week in a row, flows to China tended to dominate, totaling 357 kbd and buoying the U.S. to China weekly export average that had been feeble through the first two weeks of February. Exports to the United Kingdom were also quite elevated, finishing at 297 kbd, the highest weekly total since late-December 2017. A small 86 kbd shipment was also sent towards Spain, the first such flow since mid-January. In total, exports to Europe finished down 195 kbd representing the lowest weekly volume in more than a month, likely due in part to a slow ramp up in seasonal refinery maintenance.
Up to 40% of Sabine Pass storage tanks are under repair, since cracks were discovered mid-Feb.
In addition to unplanned maintenance, the plant also experienced delays in liftings in the previous week. A dense fog prevented LNG carrier arrivals and departures. The plant only exported 0,15 mt in week 7.
In consequence, monthly exports for February are expected below recent monthly figures at 1,5 mt, a 3% drop MtM.
There are currently 4 idle vessels outside port limits: Cool Runner, Gaslog Gibraltar, Gaslog Houston and Meridian Spirit. Meanwhile, a 5th vessel is arriving: Golar Celsius.
Kpler analysts expect liftings to pick up in pace this week, as weather conditions have improved. Cheniere’s Creole Spirit departed from the plant this morning.
Inventories & Line-Up
This week we observe an increased average send-in level of 2,65 Bcf/d, up 16% compared WtW.
Canadian Exports to Rotterdam
Earlier this week, we sent out an update detailing an increase in Mexican export flows to Rotterdam, which averaged 60 kbd between October 2017 and January 2018. Canadian oil appears to be mimicking the trade pattern. The Minerva Antarctica left the NTL Terminal on February 8th loaded with approximately 770,000 barrels of oil. AIS signaling indicates an ETA of February 17th at Rotterdam. This is the first ever such trade flow since at least 2013.