SSY Base Oil Shipping Report

The U.S. Gulf is not showing any serious signs of a summer recess so far. Europe has got off to a slow start to August, while in Asia market conditions are no better than before, but nor have they deteriorated further.

Americas

This Caribbean route has not changed a great deal and is indeed even rather dull. One of the regular owners decided to put their ship across to Europe with ethanol from the U.S. Gulf rather than remain in the area, but that said, one of the regular paraxylene and mixed xylenes cargoes to Altamira, Mexico, ended up going on outsider tonnage because of the subsequent gap. The next lifting of 1,600 tons of base oils to Rio Haina, Dominican Republic, is expected for shipment the second half of August from Houston, Texas. A bunch of vegetable oil and molasses movements are available to those owners with suitable ships.

More ethanol is being sent to Brazil in what seems to be a regular stream of material. Eight thousand eight hundred tons of base oils were quoted from the U.S. Gulf to Rio de Janeiro. A cargo of glycols from the U.S. Atlantic Coast to Suape, Brazil, and Campana, Argentina, is rumoured to have been covered, but with no details so far. Methanol has been seen looking to ship to Brazil from the Caribbean. Six hundred tons of hexane from Houston, Texas, to Suape remains uncovered, but 5,000 tons of urea ammonia nitrate to Santos, Brazil, seems to have been withdrawn.

Styrene is still around on the Eastbound route to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, but it is not as hot as previously. Ethanol is still popular and accounts for a fair bit of space. Eighteen thousand tons to 20,000 tons of sulphuric acid is being worked from Valleyfield, Canada, to Belledune, France, and Jorf Lasfar, Morocco, for later in August. Three thousand tons of monoethylene glycol was heard quoted from Port Neches, Texas, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam for the first half of August.

An enquiry to ship 4,400 tons of fishoil from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Ghent, Belgium, was circulated. Five thousand tons of linear alkyl benzene was quoted from Becancour, Canada, to Algeciras, Spain, in an attempt to replace a late-running contractual vessel. Five thousand tons to 6,000 tons of reformate from Paulsboro, New Jersey, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam for the first half of August was an unusual quotation.

Methanol continues to attract interest from charterers along the route to Asia, with several large cargoes noted. Twenty-eight thousand five hundred tons of tallow and used cooking oil from Houston, Texas, to Singapore was being worked for loading in the second half of August. A further shipment of 10,000 tons of used cooking oil and tallow is being attempted from Vancouver, Canada, to Singapore for early September loading.

Ten thousand cubic meters to 15,000cbm of ethanol was booked into the Philippines from the U.S. Gulf off August dates, with low $70s per metric ton seemingly paid for the smaller quantity and high $60s/t agreed for the larger volume. Twenty thousand cubic meters of ethanol has been seen from Clatskanie, Oregon, to Korea for mid-September. Five thousand tons of canola was heard quoted from Vancouver to Korea and China for end August, with a further 5,000 tons to 10,000 tons of canola to China noted for the first half of September shipment.

Ethanol is one of the main items under discussion to India and the Middle East Gulf these days. A ship is believed to have fixed around 35,000 tons of ethanol from Galveston, Texas, to Sohar, Oman, for prompt loading at a rate rumoured to be around $1.4 million. Several traders are checking freights for 5,000-ton parcels of styrene from the U.S. Gulf to India for the second half of August.

Europe

The market to the North Sea and Baltic finally went into summer mode this week, and with fewer cargoes being quoted around for August, the list of prompt ships has grown longer. The products that have performed best of all and which offer the most potential are those associated with automotive fuels, such as ethanol, FAME, reformate, alkylate and methyl tertiarybutyl ether to ETBE. A couple of base oil cargoes were noted moving out of the Baltic, but a couple of deep-sea shipments have captured the bulk of supply from up there.

Rates southbound have started to come under a bit of downwards pressure now that there is not quite as much volume to be shipped. Five thousand tons of FAME has been quoted into Genoa, Italy, on its own, the larger lifting to Genoa and Naples, Italy, seemingly having been covered. Six thousand tons of methyl tertiarybutyl ether was quoted into Portugal and a larger lot of 14,000 tons of methyl tertiarybutyl ether was pushed around to other Mediterranean destinations. More caustic was fixed into Spain from Runcorn, England, and a fresh requirement of 5,000 tons to 6,000 tons of caustic from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Lavera, France, was noted. The prompt shipment of 2,500 tons of base oils from Le Havre, France, to Alexandria, Egypt, failed subjects and was put back out again for loading up to Aug. 18.

There has been a steady amount of demand on the northbound route which has seen cargoes such as 3,000 tons of wax from Augusta, Sicily, to Moerdijk, Netherlands, and 5,000 tons of base oils from Kavkaz, Russia, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to be requoted for another week. Other parcels however, such as 5,000 tons of pyrolysis gasoline from Tarragona, Spain, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam attracted a considerable number of offers, with rates down to 150,000.

On the other hand, 6,000 tons of pyrolysis gasoline from Sines, Portugal, to Terneuzen, Netherlands, fetched 145,000. Five thousand tons of benzene, toulene and xylene was noted from Central Mediterranean to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and several parcels of benzene, toulene and xylene and clean petroleum were quoted from the East Mediterranean and Black Sea. Five thousand tons of glycerine was seen from the Adriatic Sea to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and 4,900 tons of base oils were noted Leixoes, Portugal, to Antwerp, Belgium.

The Mediterranean market is a lot slower this week and many more ships are either prompt or are close to becoming prompt. Caustic has been booked from Lavera, France, to the Marmara Sea, and more caustic has been seen from the Black Sea to Italy. Five thousand tons of benzene was spotted from the Black Sea to the Adriatic Sea. Three thousand tons of sulphuric acid from Huelva, Spain, to La Goulette, Tunisia, secured $103,000 and 5,000 tons of methyl tertiarybutyl ether from Malta to Thessaloniki, Greece, fetched 91,500. Three thousand five hundred tons of base oils are looking for space from Livorno, Italy, to Mohammedia, Morocco.

The westbound route has a calmer feel this week. Fewer aromatics cargoes have been noted, apart from 5,000 tons of paraxylene from Gonfreville, France, and a possible pyrolysis gasoline cargo to Houston, Texas, from Berre, France, and Sines, Portugal, but which requires the Berre parcel to be shipped to Sines and transhipped due to the berth in Berre being too restricted to accept large vessels.

There was still talk of 8,000 tons pf base oils to be shipped to the Caribbean out of the Mediterranean, and 10,000 tons of biodiesel was again mentioned from Hamburg to the U.S. Atlantic Coast. One thousand seven hundred and fifty tons of base oils were quoted from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Houston, Texas, and several small parcels of solvents were seen from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and Fawley, U.K. Five thousand tons of ammonium polyphosphate was quoted Sillamae to U.S. Atlantic Coast for September.

Space remains long to the Far East. A couple of small parcels of oxo-alcohols and mono propylene glycol were quoted from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and Lavera, France, and 2,000 tons of chemicals were noted from Haifa, Israel, to Zhangjiagang, China, or Ulsan, South Korea, but the volumes are so small that owners are looking to fill out from the Red Sea instead.

There have been several small chemicals parcels around to India and the Middle East Gulf, but there have also been more ships going on berth and which have therefore kept rates unchanged. Some acrylonitrile appears to have fixed from Ventspils, Latvia, to India, possibly in combination with 8,000 tons of base oils from Kaliningrad, Russia. Traders are looking at 5,000 tons of styrene from Tarragona, Spain, to the west coast of India.

Asia

The pattern of trade to Northeast Asia is much the same as before. China is importing heavy volumes of paraxylene, benzene and glycols from Korea and Japan, but almost everything is a contractual delivery. Prompt space is available, but many ships are fixed through to the second half of August too, with an increasing number fixed through into September.

One thousand tons of phenol from Yosu, South Korea, to Zhangjiagang, China, 1,000 tons of acetone from Yosu to Caojing, China, and 1,500 tons of methyl isobutyl ketone from Yosu to Nantong, China, were surprisingly quoted for a third week. Twelve thousand seven hundred tons of light cycle oil was noted from Ulsan, South Korea, to Zhoushan, China, or Nantong. Two thousand tons of base oils were seen from Onsan, South Korea, to Qingdao, China, along with 2,300 tons of base oils from Onsan to Taichung, Taiwan, and 5,000 tons of toluene was quoted from Yosu to Mailiao, Taiwan. Three thousand tons of soybean oil was noted from Anping, Taiwan, to Inchon, South Korea. Several typhoons are currently being tracked and may cause some disruption throughout the region.

There is very little spot activity southbound, and owners are known to be ballasting their vessels south to re-position for their next liftings. Even small clean petroleum cargoes are not active right now.

Contractual tonnage northbound is plugging away at the routine paraxylene, pyrolysis gasoline and glycol cargoes into China, while spot demand has focused on methyl tertiarybutyl ether, methanol, biodiesel, base oils and the occasional shipment of glycerine. Six thousand tons of benzene from Map Ta Phut, Thailand, to China was reportedly booked and 10,000 tons of paraxylene from Map Ta Phut to Jiangyin, China, seemingly went for $26/t.

The typhoons that are emerging around the Philippines have been a cause of concern this week for owners. Spot demand remains flat, but the market to India is extremely short on space and may entice more owners on berth. Ten thousand tons of paraxylene from Map Ta Phut, Thailand, to south China was heard to have fixed at $24/t. Three thousand tons of base oils were mentioned from Cilacap, Indonesia, to Port Klang, Malaysia.

A few traders are still looking at benzene Transpacific, but for later in August, leaving a small amount of prompt space available. Thirty thousand tons of sulphuric acid was quoted from Korea to the west coast of Mexico.

The market to Europe is steady, with ships filling up on small parcels to the Mediterranean. A few small lots have been seen to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam too. Six thousand tons of base oils were quoted from Yosu, South Korea, to Israel, but others are looking at 3,000 tons of base oils from Port Klang, Malaysia, to Israel. Five thousand tons of base oils were noted from Korea to Klaipeda, Lithuania. Several shipments of biodiesel and used cooking oil have also been booked, but levels on these are down slightly.

Business is steady in the regional markets and prompt space is not plentiful. Benzene continues to ship to India and the Middle East Gulf and there is some methyl tertiarybutyl ether being tendered from Haldia, India, for the end of August. Three thousand tons of base oils fixed from Karachi, Pakistan, to Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, and several base oil requirements were covered from Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, into Sudan, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Eastbound is running reasonably satisfactorily with a mixture of larger lots interspersed with smaller shipments of aromatics, ethylene dichloride, glycols, base oil, linear alkyl benzene and molasses.

Westbound is subdued. Fifteen thousand tons of methyl tertiarybutyl ether looks to have fixed from Mesaieed, Qatar, to the Mediterranean or Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. A couple of larger aromatics cargoes have been quoted from India into the Mediterranean and Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. Three thousand tons of base oils were still pushed around Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, to Greece and 2,500 tons of base oils were noted from Yanbu to Alexandria, Egypt, for September. Several ships have filled out with large volumes of ethanol from Karachi, Pakistan.

This report was originally featured in the August 7 edition of Lube Report Americas.

Adrian Brown, a senior market analyst for chemicals and base oils with SSY Shipbrokers, London, can be reached atfix@ssychems.comor +44 12 0750 7507. Information about SSY can be found atwww.ssyonline.com. In the Houston office,Steve Rosenthalof 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.