SSY Base Oil Shipping Report


Widespread public holidays last week confounded attempts to develop new business in all the key regions, making it one of the quietest weeks of the summer.


Cargo volumes are moving at a steady pace along the Caribbean route, keeping the regular carriers busy, although there are two to three ships of around 20,000 dwt that are open still within August and which are touting for business in any direction out of the U.S. Gulf. Methanol has been fairly busy out of Point Lisas, Trinidad and Tobago, with some 20,000 tons fixed into the U.S. Atlantic Coast, copying a fixture done late last month, with another vessel booked to load 35,000 tons into the U.S. Gulf for prompt. With Venezuelan methanol out of contention, Trinidad is expected to become more important regionally.

Ten thousand tons of ethanol was booked from Houston to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and a large chunk of caustic shipped to Rocky Point, Jamaica. Traders are quoting 6,000 tons of caustic from Point Comfort, Texas, to Santa Marta, Colombia.

Contractual volumes have been running well to South America, while on the spot, there has been a large lot of methanol fixed from Point Lisas, Trinidad and Tobago, to Paranagua, Brazil. Another large combination cargo of ethylene dichloride and caustic was fixed from the U.S. Gulf to Aratu, Brazil, and Maceio, Brazil, and it is believed there may have been yet another one of these combinations fixed for September delivery.

A parcel of base oils was noted going Port Arthur, Texas, to Santos, Brazil. Eighteen thousand tons of styrene concluded from the U.S. Gulf to Manaus, Brazil, in the region of high $50s, low $60s per metric ton, the rate level taking into account the port restrictions and high port costs in Manaus.

Prompt space remains scarce among the scheduled players on the transatlantic route. Benzene was splashed around for a while as traders looked to work the arbitrage to Europe, but with prompt space needed to make it work, it has been hard to accomplish anything. Twenty thousand tons of caustic was quoted from the U.S. Gulf to Finland for September arrival. Twenty thousand tons of caustic was heavily pushed from the U.S. Gulf to Durban, South Africa, with even the possibility of a large contract being made available.

Several more ethanol cargoes were done, and some cumene was noted to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. Various traders quoted 5,000-ton to 10,000-ton quantities of styrene from the U.S. Gulf to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, and as expected there has been interest to ship acetic acid. Two thousand two hundred tons of crude turpentine fixed from Savannah, Georgia, to Bayonne, France, and 4,500 tons of crude tall oil was quoted from Mobile, Alabama, to Rauma, Finland, for prompt loading.

Eighteen thousand tons of methanol fixed from Point Lisas, Trinidad and Tobago, to the Mediterranean on a vessel ballasting across from Europe, reinforcing the view that the prompt ships in the U.S. Gulf are targeting high-value cargoes rather than chasing after every cargo quoted.

Contractual nominations to Asia are supposed to be holding up for September, whereas spot volumes give the impression of being slow. Traders continue to discuss styrene in this direction, though few fixtures have been recorded so far for September. Glycols are seemingly more active too. Large lots of methanol are being circulated from both Jose, Venezuela, and Point Lisas, Trinidad and Tobago, some of which are for prompt loading.

Several ships are looking for completion cargoes into India both this month and next. Thirty thousand tons to 35,000 tons of ethanol, styrene, ethylene dichloride and acrylonitrile was seemingly packaged onto one ship at $53/t basis 2-U.S. Gulf to 3-India for end of August shipment.


It was a much quieter week to the North Sea and Baltic thanks to widespread public holidays in the region. Even the usual robust FAME market was not quite as busy, although in terms of spot market activity it still holds the accolade of being the most common commodity shipped. Ethanol produced a bunch of fixtures into the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Several base oil cargoes were noted out of the Baltic into the U.K. and Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, as well as up into the Baltic for a variety of accounts.

The long Islamic holidays took their toll on trade into the Mediterranean, especially into Turkey. Two thousand five hundred tons of styrene fixed from Moerdijk, Netherlands, to Berre, France, joining 1,100 tons of olefins from Antwerp, Belgium, to Berre. Six thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline was worked from Dunkirk, France, to Italy and 5,000 tons of styrene concluded from Gonfreville, France, to Aliaga, Turkey. There have also been attempts to ship 5,000 tons of ethylene dichloride from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to Aliaga.

Fifteen thousand tons of FAME from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to Constanza, Romania, and Varna, Bulgaria, was covered. Six thousand tons ethylene dichloride was noted Eastham, U.K., to Barcelona, Spain, and a tender for methyl tertiarybutyl ether into Greece produced several shipping enquiries.

Cargo volumes northbound were reduced this week for much the same reasons as on the other intra-European routes. A large lot of methanol was loaded ex Kulevi, Georgia. Three thousand tons of acetic acid fixed from Bar, Montenegro, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. One shipment of 4,000-5,000 tons of toluene fixed from Priolo, Italy, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, but an additional requirement of 3,000 tons of toluene was struggling to find a carrier.

Meanwhile, 2,000 tons of toluene and 2,000 tons of pyrolysis gasoline managed to fix from Marghera, Italy, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. Six thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline concluded from Berre, France, to Moerdijk, Netherlands and a cargo of wax was booked to Hamburg from Egypt. A cargo of base oils continues to look for space from Leixoes, Portugal, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, and 7,000-7,500 tons of caustic is still quoted from Odessa, Ukraine, to Baltic.

With so many public holidays taking place across the region, trade within the Mediterranean was greatly reduced to the extent that there have even been some prompt ships around. Those cargoes that were quoted were swiftly fixed with a minimum of fuss. FAME has been slower but still accounts for a large percent of spot fixtures. Four thousand tons of ethanol concluded from Cartegena, Spain, to Milazzo, italy. Several methyl tertiarybutyl ether cargoes were booked into Italy, Israel and Greece from France and Spain. Five thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline Priolo, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain, went on subjects, but 2,500 tons of pyrolysis gasoline from Augusta, Sicily, was still being chased by a couple of traders.

There have been very few westbound cargoes this week, at least quoted openly, although a bunch of ships showing part-cargo space perhaps tells another story. Fifteen thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline was booked from Ventspils, Latvia, to the U.S. Gulf in the mid $40s and 14,000 tons of reformate apparently concluded from Taranto, Italy, to the U.S. Gulf. Ten thousand to 11,000 tons of FAME from Hamburg to the U.S. Atlantic Coast seemingly achieved high $20s/t. Traders were looking at some caustic into the U.S. Atlantic Coast and others were checking methanol possibilities from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and the Baltic.

Six thousand three hundred tons of renewable jet was noted from Porvoo, Finland, to the U.S. Gulf and a small parcel of aviation gasoline was quoted to Cuba. A cargo of ammonium polyphosphate was re-booked from Sillamae, Estonia, to the U.S. Gulf after the original ship fixed ran late. A shipment of 5,250 tons of base oils were covered Fawley, U.K., to Baytown, Texas, along with 3,000 tons of solvents from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Savannah, Georgia.

The cargo market into Asia has been very lean with little fixed this week. The most interesting requirement has been 10,000 tons of ethylene dichloride to either China or Japan from Stade, Germany. Small parcels of vegetable oil continue to be seen to China. Surplus isopropanol has been looking to move in different directions, which saw a possible cargo attempted to the Philippines.

In a dull week, traders have been looking at sending 5,000 tons of base oils from the Baltic to India or the Middle East Gulf. Demand is still there to send linear alkyl benzene to India from a variety of ports.


Local holidays and the ensuing delays between Northeast Asia from Typhoons Krosa and Lekima, with many ports closed for several days at a time. There are still a few prompt positions scattered around, but the majority of ships have employment to end August, with a growing number only open in September.

Cargo opportunities are thin southbound presently and have clearly been affected by the holidays and bad weather too. Eighteen thousand tons of caustic 2-China to Basamuk, Papua New Guinea, looks to have gone in the low $30s. Five thousand tons of methyl tertiarybutyl ether was noted from Ulsan, South Korea, to either Southeast Asia or China. Clean petroleum is felt to be reasonably active, with some fixing taking place in the smaller sizes.

There is a mixed bag of products being quoted northbound this week, some for prompt, such as 5,600 tons of base oils from Singapore to Taichung, China, and Shanghai, China, while others were for later in August such as 6,000 tons of benzene from Map Ta Phut, Thailand, 2,500 tons fatty alcohol from Lubuk Guang, Indonesia, several prompt shipments of PME from Pelintung, Indonesia, and a few more for later in August. For September, 10,000 tons of paraxylene was noted from Kerteh, Malaysia, to Jiangyin, China, 5,500 tons of oxo-alcohols from Gresik, Indonesia, to China, and three to four shipments of pyrolysis gasoline from Map Ta Phut to Korea or China, along with some mixed xylenes.

The clean petroleum sector in the smaller sizes has been rather slow between Southeast Asia, causing a build-up of tonnage which will pressure freight levels. On the chemicals side, there have been some pyrolysis gasoline requirements from Batangas, Philippines, as well as some heavy aromatics from Kerteh, Malaysia. Nine thousand seven hundred tons of base oils were seen from Singapore for prompt. Apparently, some Singapore terminals are congested which might produce some prompt requirements to replace delayed vessels.

Interest in benzene transpacific has switched to September loading, leaving a couple of ships with August space. Seemingly there are clear arbitrage opportunities to ship base oils to both the U.S. and Europe. A few vessels have space left to Europe for the end of August, but as is usually the case, space by itself signifies little since there are cargoes being quoted, especially biofuels, but also acids, benzene, vinyl acetate monomer and base oil.

There is not a great deal of prompt space around for regional cargoes, but rates seem to be steady in most cases. Several larger requirements have been noted for September. Seven thousand tons of easy chemicals were seemingly booked from Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, to the east coast of India in the $40s/t, with war risk for charterers account. Healthy demand is seen eastbound, with aromatics, methanol, methyl tertiarybutyl ether, glycols and styrene noted. Westbound sees interest in paraxylene and benzene, with 20,000 tons booked from the west coast of India to the U.S. Atlantic coast in the low $60s/t. Sixteen thousand tons of sulphuric acid fixed from Dahej, India, to Morocco and 11,000 tons of caustic was booked from the east coast of India to Mombasa, Kenya. An enquiry for 12,000 tons of canola from Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, to Monopoli, Italy, or Brindisi, Italy, was rather unusual.

This report was originally featured in the August 21 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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