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Aramco buys four Aug gasoline cargoes-traders
Maintenance at the Saudi Rabigh refinery continues to force the company to seek extra imports from the Mediterranean, traders said on Tuesday.
July 13, 2011 2:27 by Reuters
Saudi Aramco has bought at least four cargoes of gasoline for August as maintenance at the Saudi Rabigh refinery continues to force the company to seek extra imports from the Mediterranean, traders said on Tuesday.
“That’s why Saudi is importing so much gasoline, and why the Mediterranean market is so tight,” said a light-ends trader.
Prices in the Mediterranean were trading at around $3 a tonne above markets in North Western Europe on Tuesday, with barge prices reported at $1,033.5 a tonne fob MED half-way through the session.
Aramco also delayed shipments of naphtha from the refinery earlier this week, which traders interpreted to be another signal the maintenance schedule at the refinery had run into delays and supported expectations the buying spree would extend into August.
Saudi Arabia, a regular importer of gasoline, ramped up purchases of gasoline in July, buying 10-12 cargoes on the spot market last month.
Saudi-based PetroRabigh said it would restart the gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracking unit (HOFCC) at the 400,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in mid-July.
But at least one source expected the restart to be pushed back as far as August and traders say Saudi Arabia is likely to continue to import elevated volumes of gasoline next month leaving the Mediterranean market tightly supplied.
Most units at the plant have restarted since maintenance began in April.
(Reporting by Jessica Donati; editing by Keiron Henderson)