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Argus Media: Dutch bunker supply up for April, despite Covid-19

03 Jul 2020

Erik Hoffmann of global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Thursday (2 July) published an update on the factors behind the rise in Dutch bunker supply volumes in April compared to other neighbouring regions despite the forecasted falls due to COVID-19: 

Dutch ports supplied 8% more bunker fuels in April than a year earlier, defying expectations of a downturn because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 980,000t of bunker fuel was supplied in the Netherlands in April, against 905,000t a year earlier, and a monthly average of 910,000t for the whole of last year.

The monthly average supply volume has been nearly 1mn t in the first four months this year, suggesting that bunker demand has shifted from other countries to the Netherlands, which can partly explain the gain in demand in April. A bunker supplier said the pandemic had yet to weigh significantly on bunker demand in April, and that demand weakened more in May and June.

Supply of low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) was particularly strong in April, more than tripling on the year to 660,000t. LSFO supply was boosted by increased demand for 0.5% sulphur fuel oil as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) implemented a global 0.5% sulphur cap from 1 January. LSFO also includes 0.1% sulphur fuel oil, which came to the market in 2014, ahead of the introduction of 0.1% sulphur capped Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in northwest Europe.

High-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) volumes were down by 73% on the year to 160,000t. Only ships with exhaust scrubbers fitted have been allowed to burn HSFO after 1 January. HSFO supply volumes varied significantly in the first four months of the year, with 100,000t supplied in January, 30,000t in February and 70,000t in March.

Dutch ports supplied 170,000t of marine distillates — a 4% gain on the year. Marine distillates include marine gasoil (MGO) and marine diesel oil (MDO) and are probably ECA-compliant with a sulphur content below 0.1%.

Rotterdam is the biggest bunkering port in the Netherlands and Europe. Other Dutch bunkering locations include Amsterdam and Vlissingen.

Global bunker demand has been forecast by the IEA to drop by 8% on the year in the second quarter. But the impact of the pandemic on bunker demand varied between major bunkering ports. While the world’s biggest bunkering port, Singapore, supplied 11% more fuel on the year in April, Spanish ports supplied 26% less fuel, and 15% fewer ships entered Gibraltar to bunker.


Photo credit and source:
Argus Media
Published: 3 July, 2020

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