Global crude/condensate loadings edge higher in May
Global seaborne loadings of crude/condensates edged higher m-o-m in May as an uptick from Saudi Arabia and UAE, and a recovery in Nigerian loadings offset declines from Brazil and Libya.
Global crude/condensates seaborne loadings volumes for May, complied by Vortexa, further underline mounting concerns over prompt spare capacity in the global market.
Total loadings (excluding Iran and Venezuela) stood at 46.5mbd in May, up by around 100kbd m-o-m. At first glance, any increase in waterborne loadings could be seen as a positive for crude consumers, the fact that the previous month saw a much larger 1.6mbd m-o-m gain suggests there is justification in holding the view that global spare capacity is running thin.
Key takeaways for May loadings:
- Saudi loadings rose 120kbd m-o-m in May to 7.5mbd with 1mbd originating from the Red Sea, the highest from the region since November 2021. Rising Red Sea loadings also correlate with rising flows to Ain Sukhna – which has been supplying more Arab grades to European buyers of late.
- Another significant m-o-m increase in May loadings came from Nigeria, up by 160kbd m-o-m but still at historically weak levels.
- In contrast, UAE loadings grew in May by 100kbd m-o-m, to 3.1mbd – only around 100kbd shy of the April 2020 record.
- Elsewhere within the OPEC+ group Russian seaborne loadings and those from other large Middle East OPEC producers (Iraq, Kuwait) were virtually flat m-o-m.
- Libyan loadings fell by 120kbd m-o-m to 800kbd in May, the lowest monthly total since October 2020, as output at selected fields and seaborne loading infrastructure was curtailed during the month. Preliminary data for June does not show any signs of a recovery.
- Brazil crude loadings also fell by 120kbd m-o-m as an increase in exports to European refiners and increased seaborne flows within Brazil (driven by rising products demand) was more than offset by a sharp decline in flows to Asia.
- US loadings at 3.7mbd were little changed m-o-m in May but have the potential to climb in June with US SPR releases potentially paving the way for US sour crude exports in the coming weeks.
- North Sea loadings were also largely unchanged in May, barring a 140kbd m-o-m recovery in combined loadings of Norwegian Johan Sverdrup and Troll Blend cargoes at Mongstad. At 630kbd, Mongstad loadings in May matched the multiyear high set in March but with Europe taking an increasing share (almost 90%) as the region seeks to minimise Russian imports.