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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

03 Sep 2021

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

3 September, 2021

Crippling power outages keep Louisiana ports closed, and strong demand has pulled fuel oil out of US storage.

Bunker suppliers in New Orleans and other bunker ports along the Lower Mississippi River have been unable to load and supply bunker fuels since the region was crippled by flooding and power outages in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

A bunker supplier has attempted to get a backup generator set up to power a terminal and load bunkers. Electricity is necessary to power hydraulics for barge loadings at the terminals.

Most of the Lower Mississippi River remains shut to inbound and outbound vessel traffic. The US Coast Guard has reopened for traffic from the Southwest Pass to Mile Marker 105.

Once power or backup power is restored, the bunker supplier will look to supply in the areas of the river that reopen.

The Port of New Orleans remains shut and working to resume operations at breakbulk and container terminals, saying it depends on when power will be restored. Vessel and cargo operations can be authorised by the Captain of the Port “with restrictions”, the port said.

10 vessels that were scheduled to arrive in the Port of New Orleans in the first three weeks of September have cancelled their arrivals, according to the port’s vessel line-up. Another 57 vessels are expected to arrive in September.

Vessels planning to take bunkers in New Orleans and other Lower Mississippi River ports may opt for offshore bunkering at the New Orleans Outer Anchorage (NOLA) or in ports along the US Gulf Coast unaffected by Ida. At least one vessel was considering Corpus Christi as an option.

The power outages could last for weeks as utility companies are struggling to reconnect power lines taken out by Hurricane Ida.

Bunker suppliers loading at St. Rose terminal further upriver from New Orleans may have to wait for power to be restored, unless they can get backup generators going. The terminal expects to be out of service for about two weeks.

US residual fuel oil inventories have dropped to six-week lows after a supply surge contributed to draw 5% of fuel oil out of storage last week, the most recent figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show.

The country’s fuel oil stocks averaged 411,000 bbls lower in August than in July as more fuel oil was supplied into the market, and as refinery production levels dipped. Part of the demand increase was covered by higher imports.

VLSFO is particularly tight in Uruguay’s Montevideo. One supplier has run out of product to deliver in the next week. Suppliers in nearby Zona Comun have more readily available supplies to deliver in this window.


Photo credit: ENGINE
Published: 3 September, 2021

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