Cheap gasoline from a supply glut along the U.S. Gulf Coast has reopened far-flung markets including Australia and Mozambique to exports of the U.S. fuel.
U.S. gasoline demand at the end of December fell to the lowest in a year. Stocks in PADD 3 along the Gulf Coast were up 9.5% over a year earlier at the end of last month as refiners cranked up production after fall maintenance outages.
A cargo of U.S. gasoline was headed to Australia on Wednesday, and was expected to unload at Mozambique in coming days.
Vessel STI Madison, chartered by TotalEnergies’ Atlantic Trading & Marketing, loaded about 700,000 barrels of gasoline from Marathon Petroleum’s Garyville, Louisiana, refinery on Dec. 15 and expected to discharge in Sydney near the end of this month, according to LSEG ship tracking.
ATMI did not reply to a request for comment. Marathon declined to comment.
U.S. gasoline shipments to Australia are not expected to grow, since the difference in prices between the East and West likely will narrow, traders said.
The STI Madison shipment marks the first gasoline cargo to Australia from the U.S. in nearly three years and the first from the U.S. Gulf Coast in over four years, according to ship tracking service Kpler.
Australia largely imports gasoline from South Korea, Singapore and other Asian countries. Restrictions on shipping through the Panama Canal have pushed Gulf Coast refiners to slash export prices, making U.S. gasoline more competitive.
Vessel STI Mighty carried about 170,000 barrels of gasoline from Houston to Beira in Mozambique and was expected to discharge this week. That marked the first gasoline shipment to Mozambique in four years.
“U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline is very cheap right now,” a Singapore-based gasoline trader said. “This could be an opportunistic trade,” the trader added.
(Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston and Mohi Narayan in Delhi, and Laura Sanicola in Washington DC; Editing by David Gregorio)