Traders book tankers in Europe to ship gasoline across the Atlantic after colonial shutdown
Traders have tentatively booked at least six tankers to ship gasoline from Europe to US destinations following a cyberattack that shut down the main US fuel pipeline network, Refinitiv data shows Eikon Monday.
The attack forced the Colonial Pipeline to shut down its entire system on Friday, fueling expectations of gasoline shortages along the U.S. east coast.
Some smaller lines were restarted on Sunday, but Colonial gave no timeline for restarting its main pipelines.
Two European gasoline traders said the market is taking a cautious approach to see how long the shutdown will last.
“I haven’t seen any big pickups, but it would be normal for people to preemptively take ships on submarines,” said one trader. Subs is a term used in the oil market to describe an interim reservation for an oil tanker.
A second trader said rising freight rates amid a surge in New York Harbor bookings may have weighed on the arbitrage economy in Europe.
Ebob’s European barge refining margins hit $ 10.38 per barrel on Monday, from $ 9.35 on Friday, according to Reuters calculations.
“If the … network is left down for more than a few days, the markets on the east coast and south-east of the country will begin to see supply increases and associated price spikes, while the centers of Gulf Coast refiners will scramble to place the cargoes alternately, ”said oil analysis company Vortexa. in a note.
Vortexa said a potential deviation from Jones Act rules would have a big impact on trade dynamics as it would provide much greater availability of tankers to transport fuels between U.S. ports.
The law was implemented in 1920 to support jobs in the maritime industry. It requires that goods transported between American ports be transported by domestically-built and American crewed ships.
Vortexa said tankers already in transit could be diverted to other ports.
The company saw the Litasco-chartered Tavrichesky Bridge, carrying 370,000 barrels of gasoline, diverted from New York to a new destination of Yorktown, Virginia, near the colonial towns of Richmond and Norfolk.
Source: Reuters (edited by Jan Harvey and Louise Heavens)