The Inpex-operated 8.9 mtpa Ichthys LNG plant in Darwin has withdrawn a tender to sell a cargo for delivery in June -July because of production problems, limiting available spot supplies amid planned and unplanned maintenance at other LNG plants.
The market has erased all price gains that had followed the OPEC+ decision to cut supply last month – although it has only started to get implemented this month. The group’s export trends have not helped support prices in April, as their total level remained stable near 28 Mbd when excluding Iran and Venezuela. Higher exports from Saudi Arabia and Russia offset declines from Nigeria, Iraq and Kazakhstan, while the group’s crude inventories remained stable at 259 Mbbls.
The average API density of European crude imports continues to rise in early 2023 as imports from the US remain robust, which has been keeping demand for heavier grades high, with Europe increasingly leaning towards Latin America for these barrels.
US gasoline prices have eased considerably over the past year in inflation adjusted terms, allowing consumers to shift expenditures elsewhere. While we expect prices to rise from here on depleted PADD 1 inventories and an uptick in US demand, a rerun of the extremes from last year look unlikely. Consumer expenditures as a percent of the total consumption basket will not exceed 3% (down from levels near 4% last summer).
Following a series of extensive stakeholder consultations and proposal periods, price reporting agencies S&P Global Commodity Insights (Platts) and Argus announced that WTI Midland will be included as part of their physical North Sea Brent basket price assessments, from June 2023 deliveries onwards. This widely accepted decision comes as a result of the dwindling production from the North Sea and the need to introduce new barrels to maintain the benchmark’s robustness.