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US could challenge Northwest Europe, Asia for swing jet barrels: trade

Houston — Jet fuel market sources in the US and Europe say the US market could strengthen if the Trump administration follows through with potential changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, attracting more barrels into the US West Coast from Asia.

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"US jet seems reasonably strong, especially with the RINs announcements," a European middle distillates trader said. "So I will be keeping a close eye on that."

The Trump administration is discussing moving the point of obligation for RINs, or Renewable Identification Numbers, from refiners and importers to blenders at the wholesale rack. That could bring down RINs values, which in turn could lead to higher jet fuel prices, as refiners lose incentive to make jet and turn toward ULSD and other distillates.

Related story: US EPA not involved in White House talks on RFS point of obligation: official

If that is the case, sources said the US market may see an increase in the already heavy volume of jet fuel cargoes coming into the US West Coast from northern Asia, and even compete for cargoes that might head for Northwest Europe.

"I see more coming [into Northwest Europe] for sure, and indeed a few cargoes going trans-Atlantic," a European market source said.

US distillates sources agree on the current strength of the overall US jet market.

"It's strong," a Gulf Coast trader said of the short-term US jet fuel outlook. "Physical rolls trading flat-to-backward every cycle, so we are drawing stocks, for sure."

Benchmark 54 grade jet fuel on Colonial Pipeline's prompt 14th cycle was assessed at the NYMEX April ULSD futures contract minus 7.95 cents/gal Thursday, up 1.10 cents.

--Caroline Knight,

--Daron Jones,

--Edited by Jason Lindquist,