SSY Base Oil Shipping Report


July looks to be a promising month for the U.S. Gulf, and the over-supply of ships has eased a little in Europe, but trade remains very flat in the Asian markets.

U.S. Gulf

It seems not to have been very active in the Caribbean over the past week. Small parcels of caustic were noted and 1,000 tons of sulphuric acid was pushed around from the U.S. Gulf to Rio Haina, Dominican Republic, for July shipment.

The route to South America is running pretty well with contractual commitments, but there is still some space available for spot market requirements. Attempts are being made to combine 10,000 tons of caustic from Point Comfort, Texas, to Santos, Brazil, with 10,000 tons of urea ammonia nitrate from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, to Santos, with both cargoes looking to load the second half of July. Five thousand tons of styrene was quoted from Houston, Texas, to Santos, and a large shipment of 35,000 tons of urea ammonia nitrate has also been quoted from Donaldsonville to Argentina for July 15 to July 20. Six thousand five hundred tons of base oils are being evaluated from Houston to Rio de Janeiro for July 16 to July 24.

It was starting to look as though it would be a calmer week eastbound, with styrene interest confined to Turkey discharge, but the styrene fires have been stoked and again there are enquiries from the U.S. Gulf to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. Nine thousand six hundred cubic meters of ethanol was quoted from Texas City, Texas, to Amsterdam for the first half of July and 5,000 tons to 6,000 tons of used cooking oil was worked from the U.S. Atlantic Coast to Rotterdam, Netherlands, for the second half of July loading.

Ten thousand tons of ethylene dichloride was booked from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Tarragona, Spain, for July 15 to July 20, and traders are still looking at possible glycol shipments to Turkey from the U.S. Gulf. Twenty thousand tons of urea ammonia nitrate was confirmed going from Point Lisas, Trinidad and Tobago, to Dneprobuskiy, Ukraine, with the rate rumoured to be around $40/t.

Space has tightened, but there are a couple of ships that can still offer July space to Asia, with owners looking to achieve very low $60s/t for 5,000-ton parcels from Houston to Taiwan or Korea. Styrene has been mentioned as a possibility, and ethanol is perhaps the other grade currently in contention, with fixtures recoded for both products. There has also been 21,000 tons of biodiesel feedstocks quoted to Singapore for the second half of July.

Styrene has been discussed into India, with 15,000 tons suggested to have been booked on a ship for July loading, with a further 5,000 tons being studied. Five thousand tons of ethylene dichloride was also quoted from the U.S. Gulf to India and a parcel of 4,000 tons of chloroform was also noted from the U.S. Gulf to India for July.


The end of June saw rather a lot of prompt tonnage around, but the start of July has seen the position list thin out a bit along the North Sea and Baltic routes. In the smaller sizes, biodiesel and ethanol have been fairly active, while in the larger sizes it has been urea ammonia nitrate that has produced a handful of fixtures and several new requirements this week. Base oils have been steady into the Baltic, but only a few movements were detected back out of the Baltic.

Fewer requirements have been noted southbound this week, and some, such as 16,000 tons of base oils from Rotterdam to Valencia, Spain, attracted a lot of interest from owners, with the cargo rumoured to have gone close to the $16/t figure. Five thousand tons to 6,000 tons of FAME from Rotterdam to El Ferrol, Spain, is understood to have achieved $110,000. Eight thousand tons to 9,000tons of FAME from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to Barcelona was quickly covered.

Five thousand tons to 7,000 tons of FAME was attempted from Rotterdam to Naples, Italy, and to Genoa, Italy, while 1,500 tons of orthoxylene concluded from Gonfreville, France, to Genoa. Four thousand tons of acrylonitrile finalized from Ventspils, Latvia, to Yalova, Turkey, and 9,000 tons of ligno sulphonate was evidently booked from Santander, Spain, to Turkey. Three thousand tons of ETBE was noted from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to Cartagena, Spain, while a parcel of paraxylene was worked from Kotka, Finland, to Algeciras, Spain. Four thousand tons of used lubes from Eastham, United Kingdom, to Eleusis, Greece, were quoted for the first half of July shipment.

Cargo volumes have been reasonable northbound, and rates are holding. Four thousand tons of ethanol fixed from the French Mediterranean to Dunkirk, France. Five thousand tons of ETBE was done from Fos, Frances, to Donges, France, with another 5,000 tons of ETBE fixed from Fos to Port Jerome, France. Fifteen thousand tons of reformate was noted from Lavera, France, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and 6,000 tons of pyrolysis gasoline was quoted from Berre, France, to Moerdijk, Netherlands. Ten thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline is looking for space from the Black Sea, while 10,000 tons of heavy aromatics, toluene and xylene were seeking tonnage from Leixoes, Portugal, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam.

Spot market demand has been fairly strong across the Mediterranean, and has gradually been whittling down the number of prompt positions that are around. Caustic has been active, with fixtures noted from Port Said, Egypt; Odessa, Ukraine; and Lavera. Methanol has been booked from Marsa, Malta, to the Adriatic Sea while 3,500cbm ethanol from Cartagena, Spain, to Fos fetched 80,000. The same rate accounted for 5,000 tons of gasoil from Cartagena, Spain to Mahon, Spain.

Four thousand tons of urea ammonia nitrate was done from Damietta, Egypt, to Tarragona and Alicante, Spain. MTBE and ETBE have yielded a few fixtures, with cargoes being sourced from Barcelona as well as Fos. Two thousand five hundred tons of base oils were seen from Algeciras to Alexandria, Egypt, and a further 2,000 tons were quoted from Kavkaz, Russia, to Thessaloniki, Greece, with a further 2,000 tons noted from Livorno, Italy, to La Goulette, Tunisia. 4,100 tons of base oils were quoted from Livorno to Mohammedia, Morocco, and 3,850 tons of base oils were booked from Cartagena, Spain, to Ashdod, Israel, and Haifa, Israel.

The benzene arbitrage into the U.S. Gulf appears to have closed with few fixtures to show for it. Pyrolysis gasoline is now being attempted from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and Riga, Latvia, while a couple of paraxylene shipments were booked across from Kotka and Gonfreville, with a further round of new requirements noted. Parcels of mixed xylenes and toluene are thought to have been booked from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to the U.S. Gulf and 12,000 tons of sulphuric acid was done from Hamburg, Germany, to Savannah, Georgia. As expected the fire at the Philadelphia refinery prompted shipments of cumene and phenol, with some reformate fixed from the Mediterranean and Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam too. Seventeen thousand tons of methanol was fixed from Marsa to the U.S. Gulf.

Almost all the styrene that had been attempted along the Far East route came to nothing, leaving just some paraxylene that was heard worked from the East Mediterranean and a couple of methanol possibilities from Marsa; Arzew, Algeria; and Kulevi, Georgia. Two thousand tons of base oils were worked from Hamburg to Yokohama, Japan.

It has not been very exciting this week to India and the Middle East Gulf. A couple of chemicals parcels were said to have fixed from Sarroch, Italy, and Constanza, Romania, while 1,000 tons of paraffin oil was quoted from Antwerp, Belgium, to Hazira, India. Ten thousand tons to 12,000 tons of diesel from the Black Sea to the west coast of India was an unusual quotation.


There are still quite a lot of ships open between northeast Asia in early July, with the second half of July positions being the exception rather than the rule. Some paraxylene and ethylene dichloride has been booked from Mailiao, Taiwan, to China, and a cargo of paraxylene was quoted from Yosu to Taipei. 3,000 tons benzene was seen Yosu, South Korea, to Taixing, China, and several base oil requirements were quoted into Shekou, China, and Taichung, Taiwan, from Ulsan, South Korea.

The market southbound remains patchy, and with the medium range market for clean petroleum coming off charterers may be more inclined to use the bigger ships again. One thousand eight hundred tons of styrene was quoted from Daesan, South Korea, to Bangkok and 5,000 tons of alpha olefins were still being pushed from Daesan to Singapore. Methyl tertiarybutyl ether is on the move with 5,000 tons noted from Nanjing, China, to Singapore and talk of another lot going to the Straits. Eighteen thousand five hundred tons of caustic 2-China to Basamuk, Papua New Guinea, is to load for a rate understood to be mid- to high-$30s/t. Sulphuric acid remains busy, with contractual suppliers confirming sales of 70,000 tons to 80,000 tons to Southeast Asia in small parcels.

Cargo volumes northbound are still depleted, and several ships are seeking prompt cargoes. Five thousand tons of aromatics from the Straits to Ulsan were reported to have fixed in the high $20s/t, while 1,000 tons of phenol from Singapore to mid-China is reckoned to have attained high $50s/t. Space from Thailand remains scarce however.

Two thousand tons of base oils were quoted from Sri Racha, Thailand, to Vietnam and Nantong, China, for mid-July and 3,000 tons of tertiary butyl alcohol was noted from Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, to Changshu, China, with 2,000 tons of styrene also quoted into China from Pasir Gudang. Five thousand tons of solvent naphtha C9 is still being circulated from Map Ta Phut, Thailand, to China.

The southeast region is littered with ships open before mid-July. Five thousand tons of ethylene dichloride Merak, Indonesia, to Map Ta Phut was heard to have gone in the low $20s/t. Three thousand tons of glycerine was seen from the Straits to South China while 3,000 tons of methyl tertiarybutyl ether was quoted from Map Ta Phut to the Straits. The next lifting of 5,000 tons of pyrolysis gasoline from Batangas, Philippines, to Singapore is ready for shipment at the very end of July.

Benzene continues to see activity on the transpacific route, with 21,000 tons fixed for the second half of July and other benzene enquiries quoted between 6,000 tons and 12,000 tons each. Toluene too has been seen, but July space is scarce. Part-space is available to Europe in July, some from northeast Asia and some from southeast Asia. If the cargo dates can be matched to the dates of the ship, competitive levels are achievable. Small chemicals parcels to the Mediterranean and biofuels to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam dominate.

Slightly more business has been seen in the regional markets, but there is still a lot of space to cover. Benzene sees heavy demand from Jubail, Saudi Arabia, and Shuaiba, Kuwait. Nine thousand tons of glycols were quoted from Shuaiba to Salalah, Oman, and the west coast of India for the second half of July. Methanol, linear alkyl benzene and base oils have been moving into India.

Eastbound space can be found even on scheduled tonnage, suggesting contractual demand is down during this period of tension at the entrance to the Gulf. Cargoes have been quoted from India and Pakistan, such as benzene, paraxylene, pyrolysis gasoline and ethanol.

Westbound is calm apart from 2,000 tons of base oils from Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, to Greece and some glycol and methanol into the Mediterranean and benzene to the U.S. Gulf.

This report was originally featured in the July 3 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 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.

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