At least two Aframax vessels that loaded fuel oil in the UAE — likely straight-run fuel oil (SRFO) — are making their way towards the US, in what is a more irregular arbitrage flow.
The Aframax Solomon Sea set off from the UAE’s Jebel Dhanna/Ruwais port in January and is heading in the direction of the US West Coast. It could go to Ferndale, Washington state, where previous UAE-loaded discharges have occurred. A shipping fixture showed the vessel due to load 80,000t with delivery options for the US West Coast or Far East.
The Aframax Minerva Coralia departed from Jebel Dhanna/Ruwais on 20 February and is heading towards the Suez Canal. It could also end up in the US — likely the Gulf coast — although its associated fixture for 80,000t shows a discharge option in the wider European area. Both the Minerva Coralia and Solomon Sea were chartered by BP.
This year’s other arrival of a UAE-loaded fuel oil shipment in the US was aboard the BP-chartered Chrysalis, which delivered its 340,000bl straight-run residue feedstock cargo to Corpus Christi on 21 February for Valero, official US import data showed.
The UAE exported fuel oil to the US several times last year, with top destinations being the BP Terminal in Washington state, followed by terminals in Houston and Corpus Christi ports.
Ongoing disruption at the residual fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) unit of Abu Dhabi state-run Adnoc’s
Ruwais 2 refinery means it continues to import gasoline while exporting fuel oil. The UAE’s main outlet for such fuel oil shipments is more typically Asia Pacific and within the wider Mideast Gulf region.
Refiners may typically take SRFO as a feedstock when rival product VGO appears less competitive.