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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

VLSFO supply runs almost dry in Vancouver; prompt supplies tight in Panama; VLSFO and LSMGO supply normal in Houston area.




Resized Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook image for Manifold Times

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:

15 September 2022

  • VLSFO supply runs almost dry in Vancouver
  • Prompt supplies tight in Panama
  • VLSFO and LSMGO supply normal in Houston area


North America

VLSFO and LSMGO grades are readily available in the Houston area and off the US Gulf Coast.

LSMGO availability is normal in Lake Charles. A supplier can supply on prompt dates.

Prompt VLSFO availability has been slightly patchier in New York, particularly during the second half of last week. But supplies have gradually improved coming into this week, sources say. LSMGO remains readily available in New York.

Supply remains tight across all fuel grades in US West Coast ports. Several suppliers in Long Beach and Los Angeles are fully booked for prompt dates. Recommended lead times are about 10 days with several suppliers. One supplier can offer deliveries with a shorter lead time of six days.

Suppliers' earliest HSFO delivery dates are mostly subject to enquiry across US Gulf Coast and West Coast ports, sources say.

Buyers are struggling to secure VLSFO stems in Vancouver, both for prompt dates and for dates further out. Suppliers are running low on stock, sources say.

Tight VLSFO availability has mostly been attributed to a lack of product volumes available, while some argue that the tugboat strike in Vancouver could have impacted barge mobility.

One bunker supplier in Vancouver is set to receive a VLSFO resupply cargo this weekend, which should ease some supply constraints. Another supplier is fully booked for the entire month of September, sources say. LSMGO is available but limited to only one supplier offering it, sources say.

The lack of VLSFO supply in Vancouver has forced buyers to consider bunkering in Port Angeles on the US West Coast, where prompt availability has tightened across all grades, partly due to a recent spike in enquiries. A supplier in Port Angeles is unable to commit to new deliveries on prompt dates. It requires around 8-9 days of lead times.


Caribbean and Latin America

Availability is normal across all grades in Mexico’s Manzanillo. Recommended lead times for HSFO, VLSFO and LSMGO are about five days out. Prompt deliveries can be accommodated based on enquiries, sources say.

All grades remain in tight availability in Panama’s Balboa and Cristobal. Availability is said to be tighter in Cristobal than in Balboa. Certain suppliers in Cristobal are hesitant to supply for prompt dates due to tight barge schedules. One supplier is able to offer some VLSFO for prompt dates in Cristobal.

Securing VLSFO for prompt dates can be difficult off Trinidad. A supplier is unable to offer deliveries for prompt dates as it is set to receive resupply cargoes in the coming days. Recommended lead times for VLSFO are about 9-10 days.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is tight for prompt dates in Zona Comun. The earliest delivery dates with some suppliers are 6-8 days out. Another supplier is unable to offer standalone LSMGO stems, preferring them combined with VLSFO.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal in Colombia’s Cartagena and Santa Marta. Some suppliers can offer deliveries for prompt dates in both ports.

MGO and VLSFO supply is normal in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Santos. A supplier is able to offer deliveries for both prompt dates and dates further out, sources say.

Danish bunker supplier Monjasa has announced it has chartered a 1,500 cbm- capacity bunker barge, the TWB-250, to deliver MGO stems in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

It previously delivered MGO by truck to vessels at berth in Rio de Janeiro and TWB-250 would allow it to deliver stems to anchored vessels.

By Nithin Chandran


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 16 September 2022

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Kambara Kisen orders methanol dual-fuel bulker from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding

Firm ordered a 65,700-dwt methanol dual-fuel dry bulk carrier with Tsuneishi Shipbuilding; MOL signed a basic agreement on time charter for the newbuilding that is slated to be delivered in 2027.





Kambara Kisen orders methanol dual-fuel bulker from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding

Japanese shipowner Kambara Kisen has ordered a 65,700-dwt methanol dual-fuel dry bulk carrier newbuilding from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd, according to Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) on Wednesday (20 September).

MOL said it signed a basic agreement on time charter for the newbuilding that is slated to be delivered in 2027. 

The vessel will be designed to use e-methanol produced primarily by synthesising recovered CO2 and hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources, and bio-methanol derived from biogas. 

The vessel's design maximises cargo space while ensuring sufficient methanol tank capacity set to allow the required navigational distance assuming various routes, at the same time maximising cargo space. 

MOL added the vessel is expected to serve mainly in the transport of biomass fuels from the east coast of North America to Europe and the U.K. and within the Pacific region, as well as grain from the east coast of South America and the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe and the Far East.

Details on the time-charter contract:

Shipowner: Kambara Kisen wholly owned subsidiary
Charterer: MOL Drybulk Ltd.
Charter period 2027: -

Details on the newbuilding methanol dual fuel bulk carrier:

LOA: About 200 m
Breadth: About 32.25 m
Draft: About 13.80 m
Deadweight: About 65,700 MT
Hold capacity: About 81,500m3
Shipyard: Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

Photo credit: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
Published: 22 September, 2023

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Argus Media: Alternatives may drive methanol market growth

Driven by low-carbon policies and regulations, the transportation sector — especially the marine fuels industry — could be a source of heightened demand, according to Argus.





RESIZED Argus media

The growth of sustainable alternatives to traditional methanol production sources likely will shape the market over the next several years, industry leaders said this week at the Argus Methanol Forum.

20 September 

Driven by low-carbon policies and regulations, the transportation sector — especially the marine fuels industry — could be a source of heightened demand.

"The aim is to be net zero by 2050 but [those solutions are] expensive today and one of the main challenges to build e-methanol or bio-methanol plants is a huge queue for these pieces of equipment that aren't available," Anita Gajadhar, executive director for Swiss-based methanol producer Proman, said.

Bio-based and e-methanol plants of commercial scale, like Proman's natural gas-fed 1.9 million metric tonne/yr M5000 plant in Trinidad and Tobago, are not ready today.

"But that's not to say 10 years from now they won't be there," Gajadhar added.

Smaller projects are popping up. Dutch fuels and gas supplier OCI Global announced plans last week to double the green methanol capacity at its Beaumont, Texas, facility to 400,000 t/yr and will add e-methanol to production for the first time. Production will use feedstocks such as renewable natural gas (RNG), green hydrogen and biogas.

The globally oversupplied methanol market will not get any major supply additions starting in 2024 until 2027. But that oversupply will not last long, Gajadhar said.

Global demand has slowed this year, driven by stagnate economic growth and higher interest rates, according to industry observers.

As much as half of methanol demand is tied to GDP growth, with total methanol demand estimates at 88.9mn t globally in 2023. This is essentially flat from 2022, but up from 88.3m t in 2021 and 87.7mn t in 2020, Dave McCaskill, vice-president of methanol and derivatives for Argus Media's consulting service, said.

Demand is not expected to rebound to 2019 levels of 89.6mn t until 2024 or 2025, he added.

The period of oversupply combined with lackluster demand places methanol in a transition period, Gajadhar said, which opens the door for sustainable feedstock alternatives to shape market growth.

Danish container shipping giant Maersk and French marine logistics company CMA-CGM announced earlier this week a partnership to drive decarbonization in shipping. The partnership seeks to develop fuel and operations standards for bunkering with alternative fuels. The companies will develop net-zero solutions, including new technology and alternative fuels.

Maersk has previously ordered dual-fuel methanol-powered vessels and CMA-CGM LNG-propelled vessels.

The demand for alternative feedstock-derived fuels is there, but the ability to scale-up such production lags. Certified lower-carbon methanol produced using carbon capture and sequestration — also known as blue methanol— can ramp up much more quickly, according to Gajadhar.

By Steven McGinn

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 22 September, 2023

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Royal Caribbean completes over 12 weeks of bio bunker fuel testing in Europe

Firm expanded its biofuel testing this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s “Symphony of the Seas” and Celebrity Cruises’ “Celebrity Apex”.





Royal Caribbean completes over 12 weeks of bio bunker fuel testing in Europe

Royal Caribbean Group on Tuesday (19 September) said it successfully completed over 12 consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe. 

Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas became the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to meet part of her fuel needs. 

The company confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable “drop in” supply of lower emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond. 

The tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region, the firm added. 

Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group, said: “This is a pivotal moment for Royal Caribbean Group’s alternative fuel journey.”

“Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly.”

President of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó, said: “Royal Caribbean’s success is a clear example of how commitment to innovation makes possible the development of solutions to decarbonise the maritime sector.”

“In this case, it involves the cruise sector and focuses on biofuels, an area in which the Port of Barcelona is already working to become an energy hub, producing and supplying zero carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, and of other almost zero-carbon alternative fuels, such as methanol, biofuels or synthetic fuels. Innovation and collaboration between ports and shipping companies is key to accelerate the decarbonisation of maritime transport.”

The company began testing biofuels last year and expanded the trail this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex

The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable. The biofuel blends tested are accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), a globally recognized organization that ensures sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.

With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel’s capabilities. 

“These results will help accelerate Royal Caribbean Group’s plans to continue testing the use of different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings this fall. The company is exploring strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure the availability of biofuel and infrastructures to advance the maritime energy transition,” the firm said. 

Photo credit: Royal Caribbean Group 
Published: 22 September, 2023

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