Asia Naphtha/Gasoline: ENOC buys 1.15 mil barrels in 3 days; cracks ease

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SINGAPORE (Sept 5): Asia's gasoline crack touched a one-week low of US$8.13 a barrel on Wednesday, on ample stocks but cash deals remained active as Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) continued to scoop up a sizable amount of petrol. 

- ENOC bought six of the seven cargoes traded in the Singapore cash market on Wednesday, bringing its total purchases since Sept 3 to 1.15 million barrels.

- This made up some 85% of total volumes sold this week, and the cargoes bought by ENOC so far were sufficient to fill nearly five medium-range size tankers.

- In late August, ENOC was however mainly selling gasoline in the Singapore cash market.

- It sold a total of 550,000 barrels of the fuel between Aug 24 and Aug 31 before its position changed. 

- It was unclear what were the reasons behind ENOC's buying spree, as traders do not typically comment on their operations nor positions. 
           
* OTHER RELATED NEWS: Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp shut a 46,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit at its Sakai refinery in Osaka on Tuesday, following damage to a part of the cooling tower due to the typhoon.

- But Japan's gasoline stocks in the week to Sept 1 edged up 80,000 barrels to 9.85 million barrels, official data showed.

- Current levels were however lower versus a year ago. 

- Japan's overall refinery utilisation was down 2.6% to 91.6% in the week to Saturday. 
    
* NAPHTHA: Asia's naphtha crack eased to a one-week low of US$97.98 a tonne on Wednesday, due to ample supplies. 

- Naphtha fundamentals in Asia had improved between Aug 28 and Sept 4, as demand for spot and term cargoes soaked up some of the supplies. 

- But the market direction changed mid-week as a total of 220,000 tonnes of naphtha were being offered to the spot market this week from Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Egypt.

- This came shortly after Bahrain had sold 50,000 tonnes of naphtha for early October loading at premiums of more than US$10 a tonne to Middle East quotes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis. 

- Although Indonesia's Pertamina was looking to buy up to 625,000 barrels of naphtha for September arrival at Tuban, traders said this was not additional demand. 

- Pertamina had cancelled an earlier purchase tender.

- Malaysia-based Titan on the other hand picked up naphtha for second-half October arrival at Pasir Gudang at a low single-digit a tonne discount to Japan quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis. 

- This reflected the market still being saddled with supplies, prompting sellers to release cargoes at discounts.
    
* OTHER TENDERS: India's BPCL cancelled a tender to sell up to 25,000 tonnes of naphtha for Sept 13-20 loading from Kochi.

- Thailand's PTT emerged with a tender to sell 27,500 tonnes of light naphtha for Oct 16-20 loading from Map Ta Phut, through a tender closing on Sept 5. 

- It had previously offered similar volumes but for early October, loading which traders said had likely been sold as a gasoline blendstock. 
 
- This however could not be confirmed.