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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook (16 April 2024)

Prompt HSFO availability improves in Singapore; VLSFO and LSMGO availability good across several Chinese ports; several Middle East ports could face weather disruptions.

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RESIZED ENGINE East of Suez

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

  • Prompt HSFO availability improves in Singapore
  • VLSFO and LSMGO availability good across several Chinese ports
  • Several Middle East ports could face weather disruptions

Singapore and Southeast Asia

Bunker demand in Singapore has seen an uptick so far this week. Lead times for VLSFO in the port have shown significant fluctuations in recent weeks. Most suppliers advise up to 13 days for the grade, while some can accommodate within six days.

Prompt HSFO availability has slightly improved in the port, with recommended lead times now at 6-10 days, down from 8-14 days last week. LSMGO can be arranged within 2-6 days in Singapore.

According to Enterprise Singapore, the port's residual fuel oil stocks have remained relatively stable, matching March levels in the first week of April. The port’s fuel oil stocks have remained steady at 21 million bbls despite a 10% drop in the port's net fuel imports so far this month. Both imports and exports have decreased, with fuel oil imports down by 667,000 bbls, more than double the 249,000 bbls decline in exports. Conversely, middle distillate stocks in Singapore have averaged 9% higher this month.

In Malaysia's Port Klang, VLSFO and LSMGO grades are readily available, with some suppliers able to offer prompt dates for smaller parcel sizes. However, HSFO availability remains constrained due to limited product availability.

In the Indonesian ports of Jakarta and Surabaya, the availability of VLSFO and LSMGO remains good. Additionally, the port of Balikpapan has an ample supply of VLSFO.

China, East Asia and Oceania

All bunker fuel grades remain readily available in Zhoushan, with short lead times of 2-5 days recommended by several suppliers – virtually unchanged from last week.

In north China, Dalian port has ample VLSFO and LSMGO available. Similarly, Qingdao and Tianjin have abundant availability of VLSFO and LSMGO, while HSFO supply remains limited in both ports. The availability of VLSFO and LSMGO has improved in Shanghai, but HSFO remains constrained. In Fuzhou, Yangpu, and Xiamen, both VLSFO and LSMGO are readily available. However, in Guangzhou, the supply of low-sulphur fuel grades is limited for prompt delivery dates.

VLSFO and LSMGO remain readily available in the Taiwanese ports of Hualien, Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Keelung with recommended lead times of around two days.

All bunker fuel grades are readily available in Hong Kong. Lead times of seven days are typically recommended. But adverse weather conditions are predicted to hit Hong Kong on Sunday, which may impact bunker deliveries.

Despite subdued bunker demand, South Korean suppliers are maintaining competitive pricing for VLSFO. This is partly due to South Korean refineries offering bunkers at lower prices as they work to clear excess stockpiles. Busan's VLSFO price was trading at near parity levels with regional bunker ports such as Singapore and Zhoushan on Tuesday.

All bunker fuel grades remain readily available in South Korean ports, with most suppliers recommending lead times of 3-7 days. However, rough weather is forecasted over the weekend in South Korean ports including Ulsan, Onsan, Busan, Daesan, Taean, and Yeosu, which may potentially disrupt bunkering operations.

In Japan, sluggish bunker demand persists due to elevated prices and limited cargo availability. Tokyo's VLSFO was priced about $52/mt higher than Singapore's VLSFO on Tuesday and $48/mt higher than Zhoushan's. Lead times vary across key Japanese ports, from around five days in Tokyo, Chiba, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya and Yokkaichi, to longer periods of 9-13 days in the ports of Mizushima and Oita.

In Western Australia, the ports of Kwinana and Fremantle have abundant supplies of VLSFO and LSMGO, with recommended lead times of 7-8 days in both ports. Moving to Sydney in New South Wales, prompt supply of LSMGO is available, while HSFO availability is limited.

In Victoria, Melbourne has an abundant supply of VLSFO and LSMGO, while Geelong also offers good availability of VLSFO. However, HSFO supply faces pressure in both Melbourne and Geelong. In Queensland, the ports of Brisbane and Gladstone have good VLSFO and LSMGO supply available, with recommended lead times of 7-8 days. HSFO availability remains limited in Brisbane.

Additionally, adverse weather conditions are predicted in the Thai ports of Koh Sichang and Leam Chabang between 19-22 April, and in the Vietnamese ports of Ho Chi Minh and Hai Phong on 16 April, posing potential challenges for bunker deliveries.

South Asia

VLSFO and LSMGO availability remains constrained in Indian ports, with most suppliers experiencing supply shortages.

Ports such as Mumbai, Kandla, Tuticorin, Chennai, Cochin, Visakhapatnam, Haldia and Paradip are encountering VLSFO and LSMGO shortages, leading to uncertain delivery schedules contingent on availability.

Sikka and Mumbai ports in India are forecast to experience adverse weather conditions on Wednesday and Thursday, which could disrupt bunkering.

Middle East

Bunker demand has improved in the UAE port of Fujairah. Most suppliers are advising lead times of around seven days for all grades in the port. However, the port was witnessing strong winds and waves on Tuesday, which might impact barge deliveries there. Bad weather conditions are forecast to persist until Thursday, which could complicate deliveries.

The other UAE ports of Khor Fakkan, Dubai, Saqr and Ras Al Khaimah are also facing adverse weather conditions, which are likely to continue until Thursday. Bad weather conditions could affect bunkering in these ports.

Most suppliers are recommending lead times of around seven days across all bunker fuel grades in Khor Fakkan.

Port operations in Dubai remain restricted, while the ports of Saqr and Ras Al Khaimah are on alert, according to GAC Hot Port News.

In the nearby Sohar port in Oman, bunker operations have largely remained unaffected by bad weather conditions, a trader says. There may be some delays, but bunkering so far has not been suspended in the port, the trader adds.

In Omani ports such as Sohar, Salalah, Muscat, and Duqm, LSMGO is readily available.

In Saudi Arabia's Jeddah port, both VLSFO and LSMGO remain good. However, in the nearby port of Djibouti, certain suppliers are experiencing VLSFO shortages, while LSMGO supply remains consistent.

Bad weather is predicted in the Egyptian ports of Suez and Said, Saudi Arabia's port of Jeddah and the Djiboutian port of Djibouti between Tuesday and Thursday, which may impact bunker operations.

By Tuhin Roy

 

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 17 April 2024

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Fuel Testing

Singapore: CTI-Maritec shares testing protocols ahead of mandatory enhanced bunker fuel checks

In light of mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, CTI-Maritec shares recommendations for fuel testing protocols, primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore.

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Louis Reed from Unsplash

With mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, bunker fuel testing and marine surveying business Maritec Pte Ltd (CTI-Maritec) has published a newsletter providing recommendations on vital pre-emptive fuel testing measures vessels should be taking as part of their routine fuel testing and also recommendations on optimal testing options available when deep-dive analysis is required to determine a root cause: 

Introduction

On 8 February 2024 the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issued a Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024 regarding the implementation of enhanced testing parameters for marine fuel batches intended to be delivered as bunkers in the Port of Singapore in addition to the existing quality assurance measures.

In accordance with the MPA’s Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024, from 1 June 2024 onwards, bunker suppliers in the Port of Singapore must ensure that:

  • Residual & Bio-residual bunker fuel do not contain Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC) above 50mg/kg and are free from inorganic acids.
  • COC must be tested using the EN 14077 accredited test method and shall be reported in the “Certificate of Quality” (COQ) provided to receiving vessels.
  • Inorganic acids must use the ASTM D664 accredited test method as prescribed in ISO 8217 and the Strong Acid Number (SAN) (in addition to the Total Acid Number (TAN) shall be reported in the COQ (i.e. SAN = 0) provided to receiving vessels. For distillate / bio-distillate bunker marine fuel batches, SAN must be tested as per ASTM D664 test method and reported in the COQ.
  • Residual marine fuels are free from polystyrene, polypropylene & polymethacrylate. These can be tested by filtration, microscopic examination, & Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy analysis.

Testing Recommendations in line with MPA Enhanced Parameters to Protect Your Vessels:

In view of the above, CTI-Maritec recommends fuel testing protocols as depicted in the chart below (as routine pre-emptive measures and/or for deep dive requirements to detect the root cause) to help safeguard vessel health.

Our recommendations are primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore, while recommendations for testing Polymers are advised for requirements of reported problem cases or when highly abnormal GCMS findings of chemical compounds like Styrene, DCPD and Indene are detected.

COC & SAN GCMS testing Packages A to E

Related: Singapore: CTI-Maritec publishes whitepaper on upcoming mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: Marine fuel quality testing agencies applaud move for mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: MPA tightens testing parameters to reduce contaminated bunker fuels
Related: MPA: Glencore and PetroChina supplied contaminated bunkers to about 200 ships in the Port of Singapore

 

Photo credit: Louis Reed from Unsplash
Published: 29 May 2024

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Methanol

VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Firm was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol bunker fuel delivery to “Eco Maestro” in Singapore.

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VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Tuesday (28 May) said it was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe, part of the OCI Global Group, to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol fuel delivery to Eco Maestro in Singapore.

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS, said VPS survey experts Rafael Theseira and Muhd Nazmi Abdul Rahim were at hand during the methanol bunkering to ensure the 300 metric tonnes of methanol transfer was carried out smoothly, having been involved in the first methanol bunkering a year ago. 

Manifold Times recently reported X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) successfully completing the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) in Singapore.

A X-Press Feeder container vessel, Eco Maestro, on its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300 mt of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the SIMOPS was produced by green methanol producer OCI Global and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier.

Captain Choudhuri said the role of the marine, petroleum or bunker surveyor has evolved over the years in shipping and maritime affairs, but the principles have not - and that is to provide independent assessment of the quality and quantity of the product transfer. 

“This may seem obvious but this quality and quantity control is crucial to avoid commercial discrepancies, shortages or fraud,” he said.

“Safety training is critical and we have been on top of this having completed the required MPA fire-fighting course and the IBIA Methanol training course. We will work more with the Singapore Maritime Academy for trainings in future,” he added.

In August last year, Singapore-headquartered independent common carrier X-Press Feeders launched its first ever dual-fuel vessel Eco Maestro in China.

Manifold Times previously reported VPS stating it was the first company to complete a methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) operation in Singapore on 27 July last year.

VPS was appointed by Maersk and Hong Lam Marine Pte Ltd, to undertake the very first bunker quantity survey (BQS) of a methanol fuel delivery, supplied by Hong Lam to the Maersk vessel on its maiden voyage to Europe. 

Related: First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore
Related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Related: X-Press Feeders launches its first methanol dual-fuel vessel “Eco Maestro” in China

 

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 29 May 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor; Gasum’s bunker vessels “Coralius”, “Kairos” and “Coral Energy” will be used for the bunkering operations.

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Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Nordic liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker supplier Gasum on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a long-term contract with Norway-based global energy company Equinor whereby Gasum continues to supply LNG to Equinor’s dual-fuel chartered fleet of vessels. 

The agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor. Gasum’s bunker vessels Coralius, Kairos and Coral Energy will be used for the bunkering operations.

The agreement also includes additional support services such as cooling down and gassing up, which has also been a part of Gasum’s previous collaboration with Equinor. 

Gasum has organised three separate LNG cool down operations for Equinor in Skagen so far this year.

Both Gasum and Equinor have committed to sustainability goals to enable a cleaner energy future. Equinor’s ambition is to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

Using LNG in maritime transport means complete removal of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particles, and reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of up to 85 percent as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions by at least 20%. LNG is interchangeable with liquefied biogas (LBG/bio-LNG), which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to conventional fuel such as marine gasoil (MGO).

With LNG and bio-LNG the maritime industry can reduce emissions already today, instead of waiting for future solutions. Gasum’s strategic goal is to bring yearly seven terawatt hours (7 TWh) of renewable gas to market by 2027. Achieving this goal would mean combined carbon dioxide reduction of 1.8 million tons per year for Gasum’s customers.

Related: Equinor Energy AS extends LNG bunkering agreement with Gasum
Related: Gasum expands LNG bunkering business to ARA region through partnership with Equinor

 

Photo credit: Gasum
Published: 29 May 2024

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