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ARA oil-storage business takes a hit as conditions become difficult

Although flows of oil through the big ARA ports have shown some growth, business conditions in independent storage have become more difficult

Western Europe’s Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) oil hub has seen a small increase in oil movements, driven particularly by the long-distance trade in refined products. Accordingly, utilisation of storage capacity at the main ARA independent terminals has been fairly strong, but fees have come under pressure from a combination of new capacity, squeezed trading margins and backwardation – futures prices lower than prompt – in oil-product prices.Over the first nine months of 2011, compared with the same period last year, movements of crude and refined products through ARA were up by 1.2% to 178.8 million tonnes (see Table 1). The overall rise masks a significant decline in movements through

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