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Saudi Aramco offers rare prompt Rabigh lot

The outage is expected to last up to two weeks.

August 5, 2010 8:52 by

Saudi Aramco offered a rare cargo of straight-run fuel oil for prompt, early-August loading and on a short two-hour validity from its Rabigh refinery following an outage at its gasoline-making unit, industry sources said on Thursday.

The near straight-run quality 380-centistoke parcel, totalling 500,000 barrels, is for Aug. 7-9 loading from Rabigh on a free-on-board (FOB) basis.

It was offered to the market on Wednesday and given a two-hour validity, two days after the residue fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit at the 400,000 barrel-per-day PetroRabigh plant was shut down. s

“It’s unlikely to have been sold. Most players couldn’t take the cargo on such short notice, even if they had wanted it,” a Singapore-based trader said.

“And it didn’t help that they only gave a two-hour validity, which makes it even more difficult to source for a ship.”

The trader said it would be almost impossible to spot-charter a vessel for such prompt loading dates, unless the potential buyers has time-charter ship at the laoding port at the time.

The facility, a joint-venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo, suffered an outage at its 60,000-bpd which normally takes in straight-run fuel oil as feedstock.

The outage, which occurred three days ago and is expected to last up to two weeks, has seen PetroRabigh seeking to buy five gasoline cargoes.

Fuel oil exports from the kingdom have been thin for July and August loading, at 300,000-350,000 tonnes for each of the months, below average volumes of around 500,000 tonnes per month. The Singapore market is also tighter this month with just around 3.2 million tonnes of Western arbitrage volumes arriving, inflows, three-month low. Reflecting the firming market, the product’s August/September timespread have held in backwardation of around 25 cents a tonne for the past four sessions, rising from a contango of around $3.00 just over a month ago.

(Reporting by Yaw Yan Chong; Editing by Ramthan Hussain)

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