Updates earlier version.

Naphtha exports from the Russian Black Sea port of Tuapse to Asia-Pacific have firmed in April compared with last month, Vortexa data indicate, pointing to improved west-east arbitrage economics.

At least three naphtha-loaded vessels from Tuapse have set off for Asia-Pacific so far in April, according to observed flows. Two more could depart for eastern markets by the end of the month, which would lift eastbound exports to their highest in several months from Tuapse.

Demand for west of Suez-loaded naphtha for use by the petrochemical industry, mainly in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, may have been curbed in recent months on the back of planned refinery maintenance impacting steam crackers in the region.

Demand looks to have been firming, and Russian and European supply could be rising with the end of some seasonal refinery maintenance.

In April so far, the long range (LR)-sized vessels, Alburaq, Bneider and Marika departed from Tuapse, and are expected to arrive in Asia at the end of April/beginning of May.

Provisional shipping fixtures indicate that vessels LR2 Pioneer and Free Spirit are due to load around 80,000t of naphtha each from Tuapse before end-April to head east.

In the Black Sea, Asia-bound exports from the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk have also risen in April compared with March.

Other typical suppliers to Asia-Pacific re-emerged from elsewhere in Europe. The LR2 STI Goal took on a clean oil product cargo from Norway’s Nyhamna port in mid-April, which is heading to Daesan in South Korea. The last Norwegian naphtha cargo to head east was in mid-January. Nyhamna typically exports condensate.

(Updates last paragraph to reflect revised estimate for the product loaded from Nyhamna terminal).