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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Above-average US fuel oil stocks, below-average distillate stocks; prompt VLSFO readily available in Argentina and Brazil; rough weather headed to GOLA, Trinidad and Zona Comun.

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The following article regarding bunker fuel availability in the Americas region has been provided by online marine fuel procurement platform ENGINE for post on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

28 July 2022

  • Above-average US fuel oil stocks, below-average distillate stocks
  • Prompt VLSFO readily available in Argentina and Brazil
  • Rough weather headed to GOLA, Trinidad and Zona Comun

 

North America

Buyers have been looking to start the bunker procurement process further ahead in recent weeks, sources say. Both to have their ducks in a row to fix stems when the market has trended down, and to ensure fuel availability for their targeted dates. But availability has not been tight to the extremes of late, except for in a couple of locations such as Panama and Trinidad.

VLSFO and LSMGO grades are generally in good supply with suppliers in the Houston area, while HSFO can be tighter and requires around a week of lead time with one supplier.

A period of strong winds and swells between Sunday and Monday could disrupt bunkering at the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA).

LSMGO and HSFO availability prospects in New York vary between suppliers. One can deliver the grades with 3-5 days of lead time, another in seven days, while one needs 12 days.

Suppliers in Los Angeles, Long Beach and other US West Coast ports can accommodate prompt stems. The earliest delivery dates for VLSFO and LSMGO with two suppliers in San Francisco range between 4-6 days out.  

US residual fuel oil stocks have grown beyond their position at this time last year, and also above their five-year average. Fuel oil inventories averaged 2% higher in the first three weeks of July compared to the whole of June, Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures show. A 71,000 b/d drop in supply out of storage - implied demand – has supported stock levels over this period.

Imports have dropped by 95,000 b/d on the month in July. Mexico has been the US’ biggest import source since April, when Russian inflows were phased out with an embargo. US importers increasingly looked towards Mexico and the Middle East to replace Russian barrels. Algeria became its second-biggest fuel oil source in May and June, while the UAE has taken that spot in July.

A sustained period of high refinery runs has yielded more fuel oil as a by-product and supported the stock build. US refinery utilisation has averaged above 90% since the end of April. Utilisation was ramped up further from mid-May, especially on the East Coast (97-99%) and Gulf Coast (95-98%), while to a lesser extent on the West Coast (81-90%).

The 257,000 b/d capacity Richmond refinery on the West Coast is slated for a six-week crude distillation (CDU) maintenance that started 15 June, according to Wood Mackenzie, which should have held back the region’s utilisation rates.

The country’s distillate stocks remain considerably below both their level a year ago and their five-year average. East Coast distillate stocks have regained some weight after slumping to record lows in late May. This has been reflected in improved availability in East Coast bunker ports like New York.

 

Caribbean and Latin America

VLSFO can be tight in Panama, especially in Cristobal where there are considerably fewer barges delivering fuel than on the Balboa side. A supplier has no availability in Cristobal for the coming week, but can supply in Balboa. Around seven days of lead time has been advised for stems of any grade in Balboa.

Supply prospects can be patchy off Trinidad as one supplier has a barge out for drydock and no availability. Another supplier has one barge in operation, which will head to a terminal to reload product in early August and could be unavailable for deliveries for the next 11-13 days.

High winds and swells are forecast off Trinidad between Saturday and Monday, possibly holding back bunker operations.

Prompt availability is good in Zona Comun and Brazilian ports. VLSFO can be delivered in Santos with three days of lead time. VLSFO and LSMGO can be delivered by a supplier in Zona Comun with 3-4 days or less of lead time.

Zona Comun has strong winds and swells forecast on Thursday and Friday, which could halt bunker deliveries. Bunkering has been suspended by rough weather at the anchorage on two occasions in the past week.

 

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 29 July, 2022

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Biofuel

GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the “TIHAMA”, a 19,870 TEU container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd in final trial; marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022.

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GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Thursday (18 July) said it has successfully completed its final supply chain trial for biofuel blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). 

This marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022 as part of a larger pilot to develop a framework to provide quality, quantity and GHG abatement assurances for drop-in fuels.

In this final trial, bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the TIHAMA, a 19,870 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd.

The biofuel component used is certified to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) standard – a multistakeholder certification scheme for biobased materials. The biofuel component comprised neat Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) produced from food waste.

Authentix, a tracer solutions provider, supplied and dosed the FAME with an organic-based tracer at the storage terminal outside the Netherlands. The dosed FAME was then transported to the Port of Rotterdam for blending with VLSFO to achieve a B30 blend, before the blend was bunkered onboard the TIHAMA.

Similar to previous trials, GCMD engaged fuel testing company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to witness the operations at all stages – from biofuel cargo transfer to bunkering. VPS also collected and conducted extensive laboratory tests on samples of the biofuel and biofuel blend collected at pre-determined points along the supply chain to assess quality per Standards EN 14214 and ISO 8217.

With well-to-wake emissions of 13.74 gCO2e/MJ, the neat FAME presented a 85.4% emissions reduction compared to the emissions of the fossil marine fuel. The reduced emissions complies with the MEPC 80, which requires a minimum emissions reduction of 65% in order for biofuels to be classified as sustainable.

GCMD and Hapag-Lloyd determined that consumption of the 4,500 MT B30 blend of FAME and VLSFO resulted in 27.9% emissions reduction compared to sailing on VLSFO.

A newly developed tracer deployed with this supply chain

GCMD collaborated with Authentix to develop and deploy a new organic-based tracer to authenticate the origin and verify the amount of FAME present in the blend. The proprietary tracer blended homogeneously with FAME and was detected at expected concentrations at all sampling points along the supply chain.

This trial marks the first deployment of this tracer in a marine fuel supply chain. Previously, similar tracers were used to authenticate and quantify biofuels in road transport and LPG supply chains.

Development of a comprehensive biofuels assurance framework underway

With the completion of this trial, GCMD has deployed a diverse range of tracer technologies, including synthetic DNA and element-based tracers, in addition to the organic-based tracer used in this trial. The trials have also included the development of a chemical fingerprinting methodology and the evaluation of lock-and-seal and automatic identification systems (AIS) as additional solutions to ensure the integrity of the biofuels supply chain.

Learnings on tracer limitations and benefits will be incorporated into a framework that recommends appropriate use to ensure consistent and robust performance. This effort will complement existing ISCC by providing additional supply chain assurance through physical traceability.

The insights from these trials will be shared in a series of reports covering issues, such as traceability, biofuel degradation, supply chain optimisation and abatement costs. These findings will culminate in a comprehensive assurance framework to provide guidance on biofuels use, slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2024.

 

Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 19 July 2024

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Ammonia

MPA, ITOCHU and partners sign MoU on ammonia-fuelled bulk carriers study

As a government agency, MPA,will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations, says ClassNK.

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Classification society ClassNK on Thursday (18 July) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ITOCHU Corporation, Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd., and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) regarding a joint study for the design and safety specifications of ammonia-fuelled ships which are under development by ITOCHU and partners.

“The discussion for a specification of ammonia-fuelled ships with a governmental body related to their operation is essential for a social implementation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK said. 

“As one of parties of the MoU, MPA, a government agency overseeing the world’s busiest bunkering hub, will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations.”

The MoU is based on the premise that 200,000 deadweight ton class bulk carriers will be built by Nihon Shipyard with an ammonia dual-fuelled engine.

“The necessary clarifications of the specification for the ammonia-fueled ship to carry out ammonia bunkering in Singapore will be conducted among parties of this MoU, for the commercialisation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK added.

 

Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 19 July 2024

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Biofuel

“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels “Viking Ocean”, “Viking Diamond” and “Viking Coral” while bunkering in Singapore, says Gram Car Carriers.

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“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Norwegian transportation firm Gram Car Carriers (GCC) on Thursday (18 July) said Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) will use biofuel on three vessels chartered from GCC from July onwards. 

“The biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels Viking Ocean, Viking Diamond and Viking Coral while bunkering in Singapore, an Asian hub for marine biofuels,” GCC said on its social media. 

“The use of biofuel is a key environmental initiative to reduce emissions across the entire value chain (well-to-exhaust) and an effective way of transitioning to low-carbon marine fuels amid globally tightening environmental regulations.”

“We support the green mobility shift. This means that GCC commit to supporting the transition of both vehicles and their logistic chain towards a zero-emission future in close cooperation with leading customers such as K-Line,” said Georg A. Whist, CEO of GCC.

 

Photo credit: Gram Car Carriers
Published: 19 July 2024

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