Saudi Aramco has offered its first February-loading fuel oil, an 80,000-tonne parcel of 80-centistoke (cst), to selected buyers on expectations that supplies will remain tight next month, according to traders yesterday.
The bunkers grade cargo is for loading on February 5-7 from its joint-venture Sasref refinery in Jubail on a free-on-board (FOB) basis. Offers are expected by today and a deal is expected tomorrow. "It's rather odd that they didn't show the cargo to as many people as they normally would," a Singapore-based Western trader said.
"Also, they extended the closing by one day. I think they expect to see good numbers for this parcel, given that February supplies are expected to be tight, especially from the Middle East."
The trader said he expected flows from Saudi Arabia in February to be similar to this month at a relatively low volume of around 350,000 tonnes, versus some 500,000 tonnes in December. "The Ras Tanura maintenance is still on going and the hydrocracker there has always been troublesome post-maintenance," he added.
Aramco last sold a similar cargo for January 22-24 lifting from the same refinery which it jointly owns with Shell, to Middle East trader FAL Oil at a discount of $8.00-$9.00 a tonne.
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