SINGAPORE, Sep 26 (Reuters) Western trader Trafigura will lease up to 100,000 cubic metres (cu m) of clean oil storage capacity under phase three of Singapore's Horizon Terminal project, due for operations by fourth-quarter 2008, industry sources said on Wednesday.
With this lease, the Dutch-based trader is expected to have total capacity of 400,000-500,000 cu m, mainly for middle distillates and gasoline, rivalling Vitol as Asia's largest clean oil products trading firm.
''That is a lot of capacity and it's a very clear signal that Trafigura intends to expand their market share. They are already at No. 2 without the extra capacity now,'' a Singapore-based gasoline trader said.
Horizon Terminal, which became operational in fourth-quarter last year starting with the first two phases for fuel oil storage, has leased out all of the total 250,000 cu m under its third phase, bringing its total capacity in Singapore to 1.2 million cu m.
Other than Trafigura, the latest tank storage for clean products have been taken up by Horizon's existing tenants, including majority stakeholder Emirates National Oil Co (ENOC), Kuwait's IPG as well as Western traders Cargill International and Hetco.
Trafigura currently has about 150,000 cu m of capacity, mostly for gasoline, at Vopak's terminal and will have another 200,000 cu m from its Tanjung Langsat terminal in neighbouring Malaysia, due for completion by 2009.
Phase 1 of the Tanjung Langsat project, which will have 100,000-150,000 cu m of clean storage capacity, is expected to start operations in second-quarter next year.
Sources said Trafigura, the world's third-largest independent trader with turnover of billion last year, will trade both middle distillates and gasoline from the Tanjung Langsat facility, the first terminal project in Asia in which it has an option to take an equity stake.
Vitol, the world's largest independent trader with turnover of 4 billion in 2006, has about 500,000 cu m of clean storage facilities in Asia presently.
In total, Trafigura, which trades about 1.7 million barrels of oil products and crude per day (bpd), has about 4 million cu m of oil-related storages globally, a quarter of which it has equity stake.
Singapore is expected to see a glut of storage capacity next year, with another 4 million cu m, or 69 percent of additional capacity, coming onstream, bringing the total in the city-state to about 10 million cu m.
Most of the capacity are for dirty oil storage, mainly fuel oil, and is expected to be operational by first-quarter 2008, including Universal Terminal, Asia's largest with 2.3 million cu m of capacity.
REUTERS MP BD1230