Qatari oil buyers see end to confusion over co-loads with Abu Dhabi

Asian buyers of Qatari oil have started seeing some light at the end of tunnel as logistics constraints over co-loadings with Abu Dhabi oil for tankers going to or coming from Qatar are expected to ease, with co-loads expected to be seen in the coming weeks, market sources said.

A North Asian refiner now intends to check with Abu Dhabi about whether it can accept its tanker co-loading Qatari oil for a loading in July, a company source said.

Abu Dhabi’s Petroleum Ports Authority has removed restrictions that prohibited tankers going to or coming from Qatar calling at its petroleum ports, effectively lifting the ban on co-loading, according to a circular issued by the authority Tuesday, distributed by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

According to the No. 2 circular obtained by S&P Global Platts Wednesday, it replaces the No. 1 circular, which included “denial of entry into any of the petroleum ports for all vessels arriving from, or destined to Qatar, irrespective of its flag.”

The No. 2 circular states the ports are “not to receive any Qatari flag vessel or any owned by Qatari companies or Qatari individuals; not load/unload any cargo of Qatari origin in any port or water of UAE; not to allow ships to load any cargo of UAE origin to State of Qatar.”

ADNOC officials were not immediately available to comment Thursday but a source close to ADNOC, who declined to be named, confirmed that the restrictions on co-loading Abu Dhabi and Qatari oil had been lifted.

Japan’s largest refiner, JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy, Thursday confirmed the receipt of a circular from Abu Dhabi’s port authority, and the company is now checking whether Abu Dhabi allows co-loads with Qatari oil.

“Although we have received a circular from [Abu Dhabi’s] port authority, we are still checking with actual operational situations, including by other company cases,” a company official said.


On June 8, Abu Dhabi reinstated restrictions on accepting tankers at its ports heading to or arriving from Qatar after briefly easing them earlier in the week.

In a separate circular obtained by Platts, ADNOC said it has also removed its June 8 ban of “denial of entry into any of the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports & Fujairah terminal, for all vessels arriving from, or destined to Qatar, regardless of its flag.”

This means ADNOC now allows Murban crude loading at its terminal in Fujairah for tankers arriving from or heading to Qatar, a market source said.

While market participants on Thursday were still digesting the implications of Abu Dhabi’s latest circular, market sources said confusions from a blanket ban on June 5 following the UAE’s ending of diplomatic ties and closing of all borders with Qatar will soon end.

“After the [ADNOC port] circular [was issued] in the first week of June, buyers already rescheduled their sea loads for the next voyage to load Qatari and Abu Dhabi crudes separately,” a North Asian crude trader said.

“Everybody has settled their programs in July after asking the [various] countries to change the [cargoes’] laycan — they have already resolved the problem for July.”

Any evidence of co-loading between Abu Dhabi and Qatari ports could likely be seen only from August onwards since July vessels have already been fixed, the trader said. Abu Dhabi’s latest development came after the port of Fujairah on June 12 eased its restrictions on tankers going to or arriving from Qatari ports a week after it had imposed a blanket ban on June 5 following the UAE’s ending of diplomatic ties and closing of all borders with Qatar.

“There certainly seems to be an easing of restrictions at Abu Dhabi. But it’s not exactly clear what and how right now,” said a bunker supplier in the Middle East, adding that bunker players are still digesting the implications of the latest circular.

“In Fujairah, we haven’t supplied bunkers to any vessels going to or coming from Qatar. But have heard that some suppliers might be planning to,” he said.
Source: Platts