Stefka Wechsler of the global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Tuesday (20 October) published a summary of John W. Stone Oil Distributor’s decision to foray into the offshore Texas bunker market as well as how the company plans to ensure the quality of its services in the area:
Marine fuel supplier John W. Stone Oil Distributor has entered the offshore Texas bunker market by offering very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) and marine gasoil (MGO).
The company employs its articulated tug/barge Gulf Venture/Gulf Carrier at fairway anchorages and lightering zones. The Jones Act-compliant barge, built in 2016, can carry just over 83,000 bl of fuel and has four pumps and oil heaters.
The company already supplies VLSFO, MGO and high-sulphur fuel oil throughout the Mississippi river and elsewhere along the US Gulf of Mexico and fully owns and operates 42 barges, the largest bunker barge fleet in the region.
The company saw a slowdown in vessel traffic on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic and related containment measures, and subsequently a drop in bunker demand at New Orleans, Louisiana.
There has been a slight uptick in demand recently, but it is the seasonal rise the company expected, chief operating officer Tony Odak told Argus. This demand increase has been more than offset by the addition of several new physical supply competitors to the market as well as the average bunker lots sizes decreasing because of shipowner credit issues, vessels changing the port of their call and compatibility of existing fuel onboard with newly arriving fuel.
There has been a rise in the use of re-refined lube oil as a blendstock for VLSFO by several other suppliers, which has gained traction in a cost-conscious environment. John W. Stone does not use it, Odak said.
The company is also testing an electronic declaration of inspection (DOI) document, metering and invoicing system. DOI is required by the US Coast Guard to be completed by the receiving vessels prior to fueling. The electronic system will allow the company to communicate directly with a vessel’s crew to sign a DOI, accept meter results and provide ship certification of products and or services delivered.
If a vessel is fueled by noon, an invoice with all the electronic documentation can be vetted and transmitted to the buyer the same day, the company said.
Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 21 October, 2020
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