Singapore — Indonesia's Pertamina plans to import around 10 million-11 million barrels of gasoline for September, up sharply from its planned imports of 8 million barrels for August, due to scheduled maintenance at one of its refineries in the month, industry sources told S&P Global Platts this week.
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"With Cilacap [refinery] on turnaround, it will add around 2 million barrels of additional demand," a gasoline trader in Singapore said.
Pertamina plans to shut the 62,000 b/d residue fluid catalytic cracker at its 348,000 b/d Cilacap refinery for maintenance from mid-September to mid-October, market sources said. The company could not be reached for confirmation.
The state-owned company entered the spot market last week seeking 1.1 million barrels of 88 RON gasoline in six separate parcels for loading from Singapore/Malaysia and delivery to Balongan in September. The tender closed August 17, with offers to remain valid until August 21.
The planned increase in imports by Asia's biggest gasoline importer has buoyed sentiment in the regional market.
"We were already seeing good demand from countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. With the addition of Indonesia, the gasoline market is likely to be supported for the near future," another Singapore-based market participant added.
The gasoline market has been further bolstered by spot demand from India's HPCL. The refiner has returned to the market to buy spot barrels after a three-month hiatus, seeking at least 1.343 million barrels for September delivery, according to public tenders seen by Platts.
The refiner was last seen in May buying at least 956,500 barrels of spot gasoline for June delivery.
The robust regional demand has helped keep the Asian gasoline market resilient amid global growth concerns and US-China trade tensions.
The FOB Singapore 92 RON gasoline crack against front-month ICE Brent crude futures has averaged $6.70/b to date in August, up from $6.57/b in July, Platts data showed.
-- Mark Tan, firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Edited by Wendy Wells, email@example.com