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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

04 Feb 2022

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:

  • Houston Ship Channel reopens to ease congestion
  • US fuel oil stocks hit new low point
  • VLSFO supplies tight in Brazil and Uruguay

Houston Ship Channel reopened for vessel traffic in both directions on Wednesday night, at which point the queue of vessels waiting to pass outbound had come down to eight, while inbound congestion had built to 45 vessels.

The key waterway leads into ports and bunker locations in the area, including Baytown, Texas City, Galveston and Houston. Pent up vessel traffic in both directions should be allowed to clear with a low risk of fog forecast for the week ahead.

Fuel oil inventories were drawn down across the Gulf Coast, East Coast and West Coast in the most recent week, according to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. The draws brought total US fuel oil inventories to fresh all-time lows.

Last week saw more residual fuel oil supply out of US inventories than in any week since September 2020, and could help ease some of the tightness in regional bunker ports.

Bunker suppliers have reported tight HSFO380 and VLSFO supply in key ports like Houston, New York, Los Angeles, and also further away in Panama.

Supply continues to be tight across fuel grades in Panama, especially for HSFO380.

Panama partly relies on fuel oil imports produced by US refineries, but with low US stock levels and availability tight across US bunker markets, less fuel oil has been freed up for export to Panama and other export destinations.

VLSFO remains tight in Brazilian ports. Deliveries in Paranagua, Rio Grande and Rio de Janeiro have generally only been possible with a specific quantity range given – not ranges – and lead times of around 10 days are recommended to ensure availability. Santos can have more readily available VLSFO supplies, but bunkering is limited to berth.

VLSFO supplies continue to be scarce to non-existent in Uruguay’s Montevideo.

HSFO380 supply remains tight on South America’s western Coast. There is limited availability in Ecuador’s Guayaquil and La Libertad and resupply prospects are uncertain for dates until the second half of February. Supplies of the grade have run out in Peru’s Callao.


Photo credit: ENGINE
Published: 4 February, 2022

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