In its annual market report, RVB Tank Storage Solutions focussed on the many disruptions the market faced last year. It said it had seen “a series of unique events that put their mark on the oil trading business”. These included supply outages, sanctions imposed by Washington, polluted oil and the Saudi petroleum facility attack. 

Now the Brexit decision is final it said there will be no immediate noticeable effect on the storage business, as in 2020 all existing rules and treaties will remain in effect: “It is not until 2021 that the UK and the rest of Europe will notice that free trade with the UK is no longer possible, which will impact REACH as well. We have seen, however, the first requests for storage in Europe from UK companies.”

It said that in 2019, sanctions imposed by Washington on Venezuela disrupted flows, and Russian shipments into Europe via the Druzhba pipeline were halted after oil was found to be polluted with a corrosive.

Then in September, Saudi exports were hindered after an attack against the country’s most important petroleum facility: “many traders, big players and independent houses alike have made good profits on these developments”.

It said the Corona virus “has caused the Chinese economy to come to a sudden dip with production being diminished as a result of extended mandatory holidays and consumption dropping as result of that”.

It said the market has shown a major general shift in crudes, “with sour crudes increasingly going to the US, and American lights going to Europe and Asia, with a clear increase to South Korea over the last year”. 

And it added that where over the last decade Asian, European and Indian import of crude oils have been stable or increasing slightly, in that same period US imports of crude have halved from 8 to under 4 million bpd and Chinese imports have more than doubled from just over 4 to almost 10 million bpd. 

​US Exports on the other hand have been booming and will increase more as a result of the new treaty with China and the exports to China resulting from that, it said.

Looking ahead, alongside Brexit it cited the Corona virus as a cause of possible turbulence this year. It also used the opportunity to announce that Odin Marine Europe B.V. and RVB Company B.V. have effectively merged their European activities and have all moved in to a single office “from where we will continue to offer you our services for all your storage related business including shipbroking and supply chain solutions”.

It noted that the demand for chemical storage tanks seems to be consistent, but said: “Now that tank occupancy is slightly less and options can be found again, customers doesn’t seem to be in a hurry anymore to secure tanks before others do. This change in behaviour we’ve also noticed in Q4 of last year and confirms our impression that many new-built tanks that will become available mid this year are still not contracted too.”

It said it could see new opportunities in the Middle East area “for specialties, heated and low flash, especially in the Hamriyah free zone, UAE”.

It finished by asking all terminal operators “to please keep us informed on their available capacity situation. …We are open to potential sublease options and welcome cargo owners to show us their contracted tanks which are not utilised.”

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31st January 2020