Tight northwest Europe markets push propane prices to year high

22 November 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Northwest Europe (NWE) propane values are at 2013 highs because of tightness in the cargo and barge markets, sources said on Friday.

ICIS assessed prices for large cargoes (3,000+ tonnes) as rising from $900-910/tonne CIF (cost, insurance & freight) NWE on 15 November to $1,005-1,015/tonne on 22 November, while FOB barge prices in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region rose from $895-905/tonne to $935-945/tonne.

A shipbroker said the cargo market was tight because of production problems at the St Fergus gas plant in Scotland and because of a small reduction in production at Norway’s Karsto facility.

The shipbroker said: “It’s really on the basis of St Fergus. That seems to be even more severe than first thought. There’s basically nothing coming out in December. That tightened the market even further.”

Strong propane demand from the Mediterranean is also contributing to tightness in NWE, with the shipbroker saying at least two very large gas carriers (VLGCs) had recently been diverted from their original destinations in NWE.

In the ARA region, outages at refineries in Antwerp and Rotterdam continued to limit domestic supply.

Total is out until the end of the month and also Shell Rotterdam is out. There are no refineries and every product is coming from the terminals,” said one trader.

Another trader said prices faced by most buyers in the ARA region would be higher than the ICIS range because they would pay a premium of around $60/tonne for purchasing from terminals.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Richard Welbirg
+44 208 652 3214

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