Bloomberg News

Gasoline Hits 5-Month High; Rhine Canals Shut: Oil Products

February 13, 2012

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Gasoline barges traded at the highest since September, while the product’s crack, or premium to Brent crude, rose to the most in more than a week.

Most canals off the Rhine River in Germany, Europe’s largest heating oil market, were shut amid icy conditions, according to an agency that patrols the waterways.

Light Products

Gasoline for immediate loading in Amsterdam-Rotterdam- Antwerp traded at $1,046 and $1,047 a metric ton, according to a survey of brokers and traders monitoring the Argus Bulletin Board. That’s the highest since Sept. 9 and compares with deals Feb. 10 from $1,033 to $1,043.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Statoil ASA and Hess Corp.’s Hetco unit sold Eurobob grade, to which ethanol is added to make finished motor fuel. Cargill Inc. and BP Plc were the buyers.

The fuel’s crack rose to $7.07 a barrel from $6.61 on Feb. 10, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a crude and refined products broker in London. That’s the most since Feb. 2.

Naphtha’s discount to Brent was $4.47 a barrel, little changed from $4.48 the previous session, PVM data showed.

Middle Distillates

Gasoil for March rose 0.1 percent, or $1.25, to $999 a ton at 12:49 p.m. London time on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. The April contract was $3.50 lower at $993.25 a ton. March’s premium, or backwardation, to the next month narrowed to $5.25 a ton from $5.75 on Feb. 10.

Gasoil’s crack, a measure of refining profitability, dropped to $15.78 a barrel from $16.32 on Feb. 10. Front-month Brent increased 0.8 percent to $118.28 a barrel on the ICE.

Large sections of Germany’s canal network linking to the Rhine River remain closed even after temperatures rose today, the Wasser- und Schifffahrtsverwaltung, or WSV, said.

The Rhine-Herne canal from Duisburg to Dortmund and the Elbe-Seiten waterway south of Hamburg are among the routes which are shut, Renate Schaefer, an official at WSV, said by phone from Muenster.

Temperatures in Frankfurt have risen to minus 2 degrees Celsius after falling as low as minus 13 Celsius on Feb. 11, according to CustomWeather Inc. data on Bloomberg.

Refineries

European refinery utilization will probably decline to less than 80 percent in February as runs drop in the Mediterranean, JBC Energy GmbH, a Vienna-based consultant, said in an e-mailed note today.

“Next month, we expect the factors supporting European refining economics to weaken, resulting in utilization rates declining to as low as 78 percent of capacity,” JBC said.

--With assistance from Lananh Nguyen in London. Editors: Alessandro Vitelli, John Buckley.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rupert Rowling in London at rrowling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net


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