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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

16 Dec 2022

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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