Asian oil refiners’ sweet tooth drives changes in purchases

Asian oil refiners’ sweet tooth drives changes in purchases
Asian refiners are buying more light crude. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

Asian oil refiners’ sweet tooth drives changes in purchases

Asian oil refiners’ sweet tooth drives changes in purchases
  • Refiners have been building secondary units that can further process the residual fuel oil from initial refining of heavy oils into gasoline and diesel

SINGAPORE: Asian refiners are buying more light crude and trimming purchases of heavy oil, as they tweak production to meet demand for low-sulfur shipping fuels.

Asia’s demand for light, low sulfur crude grades, known as sweet crude, produced by countries such as the US, UAE, Brazil and Nigeria has strengthened after the price gap between light and heavy crude narrowed amid record US shale production and heavy oil scarcity.

“The traded crude slate is getting lighter and sweeter. At the same time, expansion of the refining system is geared toward heavier crude,” Vitol’s Global Head of Research Giovanni Serio said at the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference.

Refiners have been building secondary units that can further process the residual fuel oil from initial refining of heavy oils into gasoline and diesel. The global shift toward lower sulfur fuel for ships from January was supposed to lower heavy, high-sulfur crude prices  but that has not happened.

Instead, US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and production quotas set by the OPEC have tightened heavy oil supply.

Strong heavy crude prices have reduced the margins for secondary units, prompting refiners to trim output and process more light oil to produce low-sulfur fuel oil or marine gasoil to meet International Maritime Organization specifications.


Qatar National Bank sees gradual growth in Saudi Arabia after end of rift

Qatar National Bank sees gradual growth in Saudi Arabia after end of rift
Updated 3 min 21 sec ago

Qatar National Bank sees gradual growth in Saudi Arabia after end of rift

Qatar National Bank sees gradual growth in Saudi Arabia after end of rift
  • QNB opened its branch in Riyadh in May 2017, just a month before the dispute erupted
  • Bank would rebuild its information technology infrastructure and the banking team
DUBAI: Qatar National Bank (QNB), Gulf’s biggest bank by assets, expects its business in Saudi Arabia will pick up only gradually after reviving its Riyadh branch that was dormant for more than three years due to a diplomatic and economic rift.
A QNB executive made the comments to analysts on Monday after Riyadh announced a deal on Jan. 5 to end the dispute with Doha that forced Qatari firms to halt business in the kingdom and its airline to reroute flights around Saudi airspace.
QNB opened its branch in the Saudi capital in May 2017, just a month before the dispute erupted.
QNB Group Chief Financial Officer Ramzi Mari told analysts that the impact of reopening its Riyadh branch would be gradual, analysts who joined the call said.
The bank would rebuild its information technology infrastructure and the banking team in Riyadh, Mari said, according to the analysts who did not give further details.
QNB declined to comment.
Saudi Arabia, along with United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt suspended diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar denied the charges and said the embargo was meant to undermine its sovereignty.
Qatar National Bank last week reported a drop in annual profit of more than 16 percent, hit by $1.6 billion in impairments during a year when the region’s economy was affected by the coronavirus outbreak.