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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

18 Jan 2023

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:

17 January 2023

  • Sluggish demand in Zhoushan
  • Availability good in several Indian ports
  • Several ports face weather disruptions



Singapore continues to see steady bunker demand and pressure on VLSFO availability, which has supported the port’s VLSFO price levels compared to other East of Suez ports. Lead times of 11-13 days are recommended for the grade in Singapore – almost unchanged from last week.

Lead times for HSFO have come down to 9-12 days this week, from almost two weeks out previously. LSMGO remains readily available with the shortest expected lead times of 4-6 days.

Residual fuel oil stocks in Singapore have averaged 2% higher in the first two weeks of January than in December, according to Enterprise Singapore. Net fuel oil imports have risen 30% so far this month, and are at a six-month high in support of stock levels.

Singapore’s middle distillate stocks have grown by 17% over the same period, helped by steady inflows.


East Asia

Zhoushan has been grappling with persistent seasonal weather disruptions since the onset of winter. Bunker operations in Zhoushan’s outer port limits (OPL) area resumed Monday evening after a weather-induced five-day suspension, according to White Whale Shipping Agency.

The weather disruptions have led ships to pile up in wait for bunkers for sustained periods in Zhoushan.

Sluggish demand and persistent weather-related disruptions have weighed on the Chinese bunkering hub’s VLSFO price. Suppliers have been compelled to price the grade at lower levels than other major Asian hubs to attract demand. Availability of the grade remains good in the port, with lead times remaining unchanged at 3-5 days.  

Recommended lead times for HSFO are 5-7 days in Zhoushan – similar to last week. LSMGO remains readily available with shorter lead times of 2-3 days.

Upcoming Chinese New Year holidays from 21-27 January will mean more muted bunker activity in the country’s ports as most suppliers will not take new orders during that period, sources say.

A bad weather forecast for next weekend coupled with the Chinese New Year Holidays might dampen demand further in Zhoushan in the coming week.

Meanwhile, the lead-up to the Chinese Lunar New Year has stimulated healthy demand for all grades in Hong Kong and contributed to tighten availability. Lead times of around seven days are advised for all fuel grades in the port as most deliveries are subject to barge availability.

Wind gusts of 19-22 knots and waves of more than a metre are forecast in Hong Kong over the weekend, which might impact bunker operations.

Recommended lead times for all grades vary greatly in South Korea ports, with the shortest estimated at four days and the longest at nine days.

Bad weather might hamper bunker operations across South Korean ports of Ulsan, Onsan, Daesan, Taean and Yeosu in the latter part of the week.

The Thai ports of Koi Sichang and Leam Chabang are likely to experience adverse weather conditions from tomorrow onwards, which may hamper bunkering in the coming days.

Bad weather conditions are predicted across the Vietnamese ports of Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong later this week, which may disrupt stem deliveries.


South Asia

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO remains good in India’s Mumbai, with prompt dates available.

VLSFO and LSMGO can be delivered with around 2-3 days of lead time in several Indian ports, including Kandla on the northwest coast, and Cochin and Chennai on the southern coast, Visakhapatnam on the southwestern coast and Haldia on the eastern coast.

A supplier in Mundra has run out of stocks, while availability in Tuticorin remains subject to enquiry.

Suppliers in India’s Kandla, Sikka, Mundra and Bedi are grappling with bunker backlogs, which are anticipated to ease after 22 January, a source says.

Prompt dates for LSMGO are available in the Sri Lankan ports of Colombo and Trincomalee.

Colombo has been plagued with weather disruptions in recent weeks. Intermittent spells of adverse weather are forecast in the coming days, forcing suppliers to deliver stems only when the weather permits, a source says.


Middle East

Demand remains sluggish while availability is good in Fujairah, a source says. Recommended lead times for VLSFO have come down further to four days, from seven days last week.

Lead times for LSMGO remain unchanged at five days in the UAE port, while lead times for HSFO have come down to six days, from eight in the past week.

LSMGO remains readily available in Duqm, Sohar, Salalah and Muscat in Oman.

By Tuhin Roy


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 18 January, 2023

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