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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Availability tight across Houston and off Gulf Coast; suppliers in GOLA struggle to clear backlogs; VLSFO supply tight in Montevideo.

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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:

  • Availability tight across Houston and off Gulf Coast
  • Suppliers in GOLA struggle to clear backlogs
  • VLSFO supply tight in Montevideo

 

North America

All grades remain tight for prompt dates in the Houston area and bunker locations off the Gulf Coast. Lead times of 7-9 days are generally recommended in Houston to ensure full coverage from suppliers, up from last week’s 5-7 days.

Bunker suppliers in Houston and off the Gulf Coast are closely monitoring potential knock-on impacts from the recent Keystone Pipeline disruption. The stretch of the Keystone Pipeline that carries crude from Alberta, Canada crude to the storage hub in Cushing and the US Gulf Coast has remained offline since last Wednesday, after its operator TC Energy detected an oil leak of 14,000 bbls.  

On Wednesday, TC Energy restarted a minor segment of the Keystone Pipeline running to Wood River in Illinois, US, after a week of closure, but the operator is not yet certain when it will fully restart flows to the Gulf Coast.

Some suppliers in Houston and off the Gulf Coast area are rushing to get hold of any product they can as they fear less fuel to be produced as a result of the ongoing Keystone Pipeline disruption, a source says.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is tight in Bolivar Roads. One major supplier requires at least eight days of lead time.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is tight in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA). Most of the suppliers have yet to confirm their earliest delivery dates. Recent bad weather led to a significant rise in bunker backlogs.

One supplier in GOLA is able to offer on a subject to the enquiry basis, but has simultaneously warned that actual delivery prospects can be unpredictable.

Availability for all grades is tight for prompt dates in New York. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO are about 5-7 days, slightly shorter than Houston’s.

All grades remain tight for prompt dates in the West Coast ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. A longer lead time of at least 10-15 days is generally recommended to ensure full coverage from all suppliers. Securing HSFO is even more difficult and lead times can be unpredictable as the grade is supplied by fewer suppliers, a source says.

Overall bunker demand in Mexico’s Manzanillo has slowed coming into December, a source says. HSFO, VLSFO and LSMGO availability remains normal, and five days of lead times are recommended.

Sources doubt whether the recent tightness in the Gulf Coast area will drive demand to Mexican ports.

 

Caribbean and Latin America

All grades are tight for prompt dates in Panama’s Balboa and Cristobal. Supply is said to be tighter in Cristobal, primarily due to fewer suppliers. One supplier in Cristobal can deliver VLSFO and LSMGO stems with eight days of lead time, while others are hesitant to put up offers, a source says.

LSMGO availability is super tight off Trinidad. One supplier is running low on LSMGO stocks and only expects replenishment cargo volumes to arrive by early next month, sources say.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is normal in Colombia’s Cartagena and Santa Marta. Recommended lead time for both grades is about three days.

Availability is tight for prompt dates at Argentina’s Zona Comun anchorage. One supplier requires at least seven days of lead days. Another can supply very prompt (0-3 days) as it has sufficient product loaded on its barge. Others require at least 5-8 days of lead time.

VLSFO availability is tight in Uruguay’s Montevideo. One major supplier is unable to confirm delivery dates as it has tight barge availability, sources say.

By Nithin Chandran

 

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 16 December, 2022

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Fuel Testing

Singapore: CTI-Maritec shares testing protocols ahead of mandatory enhanced bunker fuel checks

In light of mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, CTI-Maritec shares recommendations for fuel testing protocols, primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore.

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With mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, bunker fuel testing and marine surveying business Maritec Pte Ltd (CTI-Maritec) has published a newsletter providing recommendations on vital pre-emptive fuel testing measures vessels should be taking as part of their routine fuel testing and also recommendations on optimal testing options available when deep-dive analysis is required to determine a root cause: 

Introduction

On 8 February 2024 the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issued a Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024 regarding the implementation of enhanced testing parameters for marine fuel batches intended to be delivered as bunkers in the Port of Singapore in addition to the existing quality assurance measures.

In accordance with the MPA’s Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024, from 1 June 2024 onwards, bunker suppliers in the Port of Singapore must ensure that:

  • Residual & Bio-residual bunker fuel do not contain Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC) above 50mg/kg and are free from inorganic acids.
  • COC must be tested using the EN 14077 accredited test method and shall be reported in the “Certificate of Quality” (COQ) provided to receiving vessels.
  • Inorganic acids must use the ASTM D664 accredited test method as prescribed in ISO 8217 and the Strong Acid Number (SAN) (in addition to the Total Acid Number (TAN) shall be reported in the COQ (i.e. SAN = 0) provided to receiving vessels. For distillate / bio-distillate bunker marine fuel batches, SAN must be tested as per ASTM D664 test method and reported in the COQ.
  • Residual marine fuels are free from polystyrene, polypropylene & polymethacrylate. These can be tested by filtration, microscopic examination, & Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy analysis.

Testing Recommendations in line with MPA Enhanced Parameters to Protect Your Vessels:

In view of the above, CTI-Maritec recommends fuel testing protocols as depicted in the chart below (as routine pre-emptive measures and/or for deep dive requirements to detect the root cause) to help safeguard vessel health.

Our recommendations are primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore, while recommendations for testing Polymers are advised for requirements of reported problem cases or when highly abnormal GCMS findings of chemical compounds like Styrene, DCPD and Indene are detected.

COC & SAN GCMS testing Packages A to E

Related: Singapore: CTI-Maritec publishes whitepaper on upcoming mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: Marine fuel quality testing agencies applaud move for mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: MPA tightens testing parameters to reduce contaminated bunker fuels
Related: MPA: Glencore and PetroChina supplied contaminated bunkers to about 200 ships in the Port of Singapore

 

Photo credit: Louis Reed from Unsplash
Published: 29 May 2024

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Methanol

VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Firm was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol bunker fuel delivery to “Eco Maestro” in Singapore.

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VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Tuesday (28 May) said it was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe, part of the OCI Global Group, to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol fuel delivery to Eco Maestro in Singapore.

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS, said VPS survey experts Rafael Theseira and Muhd Nazmi Abdul Rahim were at hand during the methanol bunkering to ensure the 300 metric tonnes of methanol transfer was carried out smoothly, having been involved in the first methanol bunkering a year ago. 

Manifold Times recently reported X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) successfully completing the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) in Singapore.

A X-Press Feeder container vessel, Eco Maestro, on its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300 mt of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the SIMOPS was produced by green methanol producer OCI Global and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier.

Captain Choudhuri said the role of the marine, petroleum or bunker surveyor has evolved over the years in shipping and maritime affairs, but the principles have not - and that is to provide independent assessment of the quality and quantity of the product transfer. 

“This may seem obvious but this quality and quantity control is crucial to avoid commercial discrepancies, shortages or fraud,” he said.

“Safety training is critical and we have been on top of this having completed the required MPA fire-fighting course and the IBIA Methanol training course. We will work more with the Singapore Maritime Academy for trainings in future,” he added.

In August last year, Singapore-headquartered independent common carrier X-Press Feeders launched its first ever dual-fuel vessel Eco Maestro in China.

Manifold Times previously reported VPS stating it was the first company to complete a methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) operation in Singapore on 27 July last year.

VPS was appointed by Maersk and Hong Lam Marine Pte Ltd, to undertake the very first bunker quantity survey (BQS) of a methanol fuel delivery, supplied by Hong Lam to the Maersk vessel on its maiden voyage to Europe. 

Related: First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore
Related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Related: X-Press Feeders launches its first methanol dual-fuel vessel “Eco Maestro” in China

 

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 29 May 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor; Gasum’s bunker vessels “Coralius”, “Kairos” and “Coral Energy” will be used for the bunkering operations.

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Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Nordic liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker supplier Gasum on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a long-term contract with Norway-based global energy company Equinor whereby Gasum continues to supply LNG to Equinor’s dual-fuel chartered fleet of vessels. 

The agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor. Gasum’s bunker vessels Coralius, Kairos and Coral Energy will be used for the bunkering operations.

The agreement also includes additional support services such as cooling down and gassing up, which has also been a part of Gasum’s previous collaboration with Equinor. 

Gasum has organised three separate LNG cool down operations for Equinor in Skagen so far this year.

Both Gasum and Equinor have committed to sustainability goals to enable a cleaner energy future. Equinor’s ambition is to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

Using LNG in maritime transport means complete removal of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particles, and reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of up to 85 percent as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions by at least 20%. LNG is interchangeable with liquefied biogas (LBG/bio-LNG), which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to conventional fuel such as marine gasoil (MGO).

With LNG and bio-LNG the maritime industry can reduce emissions already today, instead of waiting for future solutions. Gasum’s strategic goal is to bring yearly seven terawatt hours (7 TWh) of renewable gas to market by 2027. Achieving this goal would mean combined carbon dioxide reduction of 1.8 million tons per year for Gasum’s customers.

Related: Equinor Energy AS extends LNG bunkering agreement with Gasum
Related: Gasum expands LNG bunkering business to ARA region through partnership with Equinor

 

Photo credit: Gasum
Published: 29 May 2024

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