The European fuel market is under threat from increased US fuel shipments.
Well-established markets in Latin America and West Africa are likely to be affected by the US refineries according to reports. US producers are increasing their runs and benefitting from renewable ethanol credits (RINs) which incentivise the export of fuel products.
Can the Europeans keep up with the US? Image: Atlas Maritime
Declining domestic demand and increased competition from Russia has also affected the European refining industry. One of those affected, OMV, is set for acquisition by Russia's Lukoil.
Meanwhile, the trend is reflected with the news that US firm, Murphy Oil, is apparently aiming to sell its Milford Haven plant in England, while Philips 66 has put Ireland's only refinery on the market.
According to reports, a number of tankers, carrying more than 150,000 tonnes of fuel are bound from the US for West Africa. Much of the cargo is likely to be offloaded in Nigeria, which consumes almost the entire West African region's average requirement of 260,000bpd of gasoline. European producers are being forced to turn to Asia and South America for alternative export markets.