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Total petroleum transit volumes through the Suez Canal increased by 2.2% to a new annual record of 3.67mn b/d in 2015. Yet total crude volume fell by 8% to 1.62mn b/d. The increasing importance of refined products transit was demonstrated by records for northbound diesel and southbound gasoline and naphtha deliveries. There was also a marked difference in trends for northbound traffic compared with southbound, which can be attributed to global market conditions.
Northbound total petroleum traffic fell by 3.2% to 99.29mn tons (roughly 2mn b/d), with crude falling by 10.6% or 147,000 b/d to 1.24mn b/d. However, diesel transit increased by more than 50% to 15.33mn tons (315,000 b/d). The diesel increase is mainly attributable to the ramp-up of two new 400,000 b/d refineries in Saudi Arabia, which were built with diesel exports to Europe in mind. Further diesel records are likely, since the second of two plants reached full capacity only in October 2015 (see p6).
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