ExxonMobil offered a 380-centistoke (cst) fuel oil cargo for early-April loading from its Yanbu plant, a day after joint-venture partner Saudi Aramco offered a similar lot for the first time from the Red Sea plant, traders said yesterday.
Unlike Aramco, ExxonMobil's offer is for a combination cargo comprising 35,000 tonnes each of 380-cst and 650-cst. The latter is the regular grade from Yanbu. The parcels are for lifting in early April from the Samref facility off the Red Sea, which will undergo a 45-day turnaround from second-half March, on a free-on-board basis.
Offers for the cargoes are expected today and a deal is expected to be concluded a day later. "We have never seen 380-cst from Yanbu before and now there are two," a Singapore-based Middle East trader said. "It's probably due to destocking because of the turnaround and they have decided to sell the 380-cst barrels instead of keeping them because of high flat prices now." A day earlier, Aramco offered 60,000 tonnes of 380-cst for March 28-April 3 loading from the 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery, which typically exports five 650-cst parcels every two months.
Saudi Arabia has only exported three March-loading parcels, totalling 300,000-350,000 tonnes, down from 500,000-550,000 tonnes for February-loading, largely due to the turnaround. All the cargoes were sold by Aramco, with none of the parcels coming from Samref, while ExxonMobil did not offer any into the market.