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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

19 Nov 2021

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

18 November, 2021

A massive storm could limit resupply to Vancouver, and US fuel oil inventories have been drawn to two-year lows.

Vancouver has essentially been severed off from the rest of Canada after a storm hit the city overnight on Sunday. While the port of Vancouver remains operational, key pipelines supplying a refinery and oil terminals around the port have been shut off.

The Trans Mountain pipeline system has been offline since storm caused severe flooding and mudslides in the region. Assessments are ongoing before oil can flow through the pipes again.

A prolonged shutdown of the pipeline will curb resupply to the port, but the impact has not yet been felt significantly, sources say.

Vancouver’s VLSFO and LSMGO prices rose to premiums over US West Coast ports Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Francisco earlier this week.

US residual fuel oil inventories are at their lowest point since March 2019 after a big draw last week, official data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.

Demand for fuel oil has been strong so far in November, with volumes supplied to refineries, blenders and bulk terminals surging by a quarter compared to October. Supply levels hit a 14-month high last week.

This could point to strong aggregate bunker demand across US ports, as around 84-85% of fuel oil supplied to the US domestic market is eventually sold as bunkers.

Prompt product of all grades is generally available across key US ports.

Panama saw bunker sales rise to a seven-month high in October, according to preliminary figures from the Panama Maritime Authority. HSFO380 demand was particularly strong with over 95,000 mt supplied the most since late 2019, when the majority of the global shipping fleet switched to low sulphur fuels.

High demand put pressure on Balboa’s fuel stocks and bunker barge schedules through October. The port’s suppliers brought two barges back into operation last month, bringing its total to 28.

One barge was taken out of operation in Cristobal on the Caribbean side, taking its total down to five. Bunker availability can be tight for prompt dates in Cristobal, with lead times of around seven days advised by certain suppliers.


Photo credit: ENGINE
Published: 19 November, 2021

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