EGPC delays naphtha shipments after fire at refinery

Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) has delayed naphtha shipments for April after a fire at its 146,300 barrels-per-day Nasr refinery in Suez last Saturday, two company officials said on Thursday.

The state-owned company will delay two naphtha cargoes, which were to be loaded from Suez in the second half of April, to May and June, said the officials who declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Naphtha is a petroleum distillate often used as fuel.

A third April naphtha cargo due to be loaded last weekend when the fire broke out was loaded after the fire was extinguished, they said. Diesel and gasoline imports, however, will not be affected and the company does not yet have any additional spot requirements, they added.

It is due to issue a term tender to seek oil products for July-December next month, and could probably seek higher volumes, a trader said. The delay in naphtha shipments is likely to have an impact on the Asian market, a North Asian trader said.

"Suez exports about 60,000 to 90,000 tonnes of naphtha to Asia, so there will be an impact if we lose those cargoes for April," the trader said. "The loss of cargoes is coming when May supplies are tight due to limited European cargoes coming in next month." Traders added that the tightly supplied naphtha market is likely to ease only from June.

The fire, which local media reported broke out at storage tanks in the refinery, has since been extinguished while the cause of the blaze is being investigated, the officials said. It is unclear if the refinery has been shut due to the fire.

The El Nasr refinery has been operated by EGPC's subsidiary El Nasr Petroleum since 1913. The refinery has three crude distillation units as well as an accompanying asphalt production unit and power plant.

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