Naphtha demand from Europe petchem industry remains weak – OPEC

09 November 2011 11:31  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Naphtha demand from the European petrochemical industry remains weak as producers continue to view propane as a more attractive feedstock for steam cracking, OPEC said in its November monthly oil market report on Wednesday.

OPEC added that demand for light distillates continues to be lacklustre in the region on the back of poor export opportunities, while the middle and heavy parts of the barrel showed a strong recovery.

“The only relief has been the regular movement of cargoes from the Mediterranean to Brazil and a few cargoes to the US,” it said.

“Despite firm demand from North Africa and Saudi Arabia, the weak European gasoline market continued losing ground due to lacklustre domestic demand amid poor export opportunities to the other side of the Atlantic, as US gasoline imports were at their lowest level in more than 10 years,” it added.

OPEC said that tightness in the European middle distillates market, largely on the back of the arbitrage window from Asia closing after the shutdown of Shell’s Singapore refinery and because of a drop in Russian exports due to lower refinery throughput, has boosted sentiment to recover ground lost in recent months, with the northwest European gasoil crack having shown a sharp increase.

Meanwhile, OPEC left its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2011 unchanged from its previous report at 900,000 bbl/day, with average demand at 87.8m bbl/day. It said that despite the oncoming winter season, demand from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) region is expected to see a further contraction as a result of slowing economic momentum, particularly in the EU.

“Moreover, US gasoline demand has been on the decline for the past four months, reflecting the sluggish economy,” it added.

The forecast for global oil demand growth in 2012 also remains unchanged, at 1.2m bbl/day, with average demand at 89.0m bbl/day.

Non-OPEC supply in 2011 is forecast to increase by 220,000 bbl/day to average 52.50m bbl/day, representing a downward revision of 130,000 bbl/day from the previous report.

In 2012, non-OPEC oil supply is forecast to grow by 820,000 bbl/day to average 53.32m bbl/day, in line with the previous assessment.

“Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the US, Ghana and Russia are expected to be the main contributors to next year’s growth, while Norway, UK, and Mexico are anticipated to experience the largest declines,” OPEC said.

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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