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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

10 Feb 2023

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:

  • Bunker supply improves in Houston area
  • Bad weather still disrupting GOLA bunkering
  • VLSFO and LSMGO supply normal in Zona Comun


North America

VLSFO and LSMGO availability has improved in the Houston area and bunker locations off the US Gulf Coast. A lead time of 3-5 days is generally recommended, down from last week’s 5-8 days.

But securing stems for very prompt dates (0-3 days) can be harder in Houston as some suppliers have packed delivery schedules, a source says. Demand for prompt stems has been slower this week, while many buyers have been rushing to secure bunkers for dates further out.

On 28 January, Valero’s 255,000 b/d nameplate capacity Houston refinery started a 35-day turnaround period for four processing units, according to market intelligence provider Industrial Info Resources (IIR). The refinery produces bunker fuels, ultra-low sulphur diesel, gasoline and other products.

Valero was unable to comment on the refinery maintenance when ENGINE reached out to. However, sources have informed that Valero has been offering VLSFO and LSMGO grades as normal in the Houston bunker market in recent days, a source said. 

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is said to be normal in the East Coast port of New York. Recommended lead times are about four days for both grades.

Rough weather continues to disrupt bunkering in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA). Most suppliers have pulled back prompt offers due to intermittent bad weather conditions, a trader says.

GOLA is currently experiencing wind gusts of 25 knots, with winds forecasted to intensify to gale-force on Friday and Saturday.

All grades remain tight for prompt delivery dates in the West Coast ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. A long lead time of at least 10-12 days is generally recommended for VLSFO and LSMGO. But some suppliers can supply LSMGO stems of 500 mt or less in Long Beach with shorter lead times.  

Bunker fuel availability remains normal in Mexico’s Manzanillo. Recommended lead times are about five days for HSFO, VLSFO and LSMGO.


Caribbean and Latin America

Securing VLSFO and LSMGO for very prompt dates (0-3 days) can be possible in Panama’s Balboa and Cristobal, but these offers are generally quoted on a subject to enquiry basis, a source says. However, securing larger quantities of 500 mt or above can be difficult on a very prompt basis.

Certain suppliers can deliver VLSFO stems in Balboa with lead times of 6-7 days, while LSMGO stems can be delivered within three days. Another supplier’s earliest delivery date is 13 days out in Balboa. And yet another will need a lead time of four days to deliver in Cristobal.

The low sulphur grades are also tight with a supplier in Jamaica’s Kingston, which has its earliest delivery date 11-12 days out.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is normal for deliveries in Trinidad. Very prompt deliveries with a lead time of 2-3 days are possible in the port.

Availability is also normal for deliveries at Argentina’s Zona Comun anchorage. One supplier requires four days of lead time to deliver VLSFO and LSMGO stems. However, strong wind gusts are forecast in Zona Comun and could disrupt bunker deliveries over the weekend.

By Nithin Chandran and Debarati Bhattacharjee


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 10 February, 2023

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