Asia and Middle East Naphtha Market Commentary

Supply balance in the Asian naphtha market appeared to be firmer, with more spot offers for March-loading cargoes emerging. Petron Singapore Trading  Pte. Ltd. is offering 120,000 barrels of naphtha with minimum 65% paraffin content, for lifting over March 16-18 from CBM Limay, Bataan in the Philippines. The tender closes February 20 at 0300 GMT, with validity until February 21.Yeochun NCC is seeking H1 April delivery open-spec naphtha. The tender closes February 20. Reliance Industries Ltd., offered 55,000 mt of minimum 77%paraffin content naphtha parcel for March 24-27 lifting, ex-Sikka, through a tender that closed late Thursday . That was the third March-loading naphtha parcel offered from the refiner. Award details could not be confirmed, although a few participants in the market expected the cargo to be signed for low-mid teen premiums to the March average of Mean of   Arab Gulf naphtha assessment, FOB. Further upstream, Indonesia’s PERTAMINA procured two clips of650,000 barrels of Australia’s North West Shelf condensate for April and May delivery into Tuban. Market sources said around four cargoes of NWS condensate from the March and April program have yet to be placed with end-users. Northeast Asia splitter units operators typically use NWS condensate or heavy full range naphtha as their feedstock. The second-line CFR Japan naphtha physical crack against ICE Brent crude futures had been stable, averaging$35.73/mt and $35.425/mt in the first and second week of the month. In company news, S-Oil Corp., South Korea’s third-largest refiner, will supply Won 2.61trillion ($2.32 billion) worth of refined oil products to Saudi Aram co this year, the company said Thursday . Under the contract with Aram co Trading Singapore, S-Oil will supply 11 million-13 million barrels of naphtha over January 1 to December 31, the refiner said in a regulatory filing. S-Oil, which is 63.4% owned by Aram co Overseas Co., a subsidiary of Saudi Aram co, imports most of its crude oil needs from Saudi Arabia. In November, S-Oil started commercial production at a Residue Upgrading Complex and Olefin Downstream Complex at the On san complex on South Korea’s southeast coast. The new facility produces 21,000 b/d of gasoline, 405,000 mt/year of polypropylene and 300,000 mt/year of propylene oxide.

The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using “inherently safer” design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.

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