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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

08 Feb 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:

7 February 2023

  • Buyers looking more at non-prompt Singapore stems
  • VLSFO supply improves in Hong Kong
  • Bad weather hampers OPL deliveries in Colombo    



Bunker demand has been robust in Singapore following the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays. VLSFO and HSFO availability remains tight in the port, and while prompt dates can still be available, these offers are typically fewer and generally priced higher, a source says. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and HSFO are about 8-10 days, almost the same as last week’s 7-9 days.

Meanwhile, two suppliers in Singapore can supply HSFO stems with a shorter lead time of five days.

LSMGO is slightly better placed availability-wise, with prompt supply more readily available. A lead time of 5-6 days is generally recommended for smooth coverage. Sources argue that some buyers have been rushing to book bunkers for dates further out as prices for these stems have been more competitive than for prompt dates.

Singapore’s residual fuel oil stocks averaged 1% lower in January than in December, data from Enterprise Singapore shows. The port’s fuel oil imports surged by 22% in January, while exports dipped by 11%.


East Asia

Securing VLSFO and LSMGO stems for very prompt dates (0-3 days) can be hard in Zhoushan. A lead time of about five days is generally recommended for both grades. One supplier is running low on VLSFO stocks as a replenishment cargo it expected to receive has been delayed.

A tanker carrying 34,000 bbls of low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) is scheduled to arrive in Zhoushan-Ningbo from Russia by 18 February, according to cargo tracker Vortexa.

HSFO supply remains tight in Zhoushan, with longer lead times typically recommended.

Several suppliers have cautioned that strong winds and swells are forecast in Zhoushan from Thursday and could disrupt bunkering again.

VLSFO supply in Hong Kong has improved with the arrival of a replenishment cargo, a source says. A tanker carrying 415,000 bbls of LSFO arrived in Hong Kong from Singapore on 5 February, Vortexa data shows. The cargo has helped to ease some supply pressure, a source says.

Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO have come down from 6-9 days in Hong Kong last week, to 3-4 days now. The lead time for HSFO remains steady at seven days.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is tight for prompt dates in South Korea’s Busan and Yeosu ports. Most suppliers have pushed their earliest delivery dates back to 17 February onwards, while only one supplier can supply on prompt dates, a source says. One Korean supplier, meanwhile, has halted its VLSFO offers as it is fully booked for the remaining days of this month, a source says. The supplier is expected to resume offers from early next month.

Strong winds gusts reaching up to 40 knots are forecast in the Vietnamese ports of Ho Chi Minh and Hai Phong, which could hamper bunkering throughout this week.


South Asia

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO remains good in India’s Mumbai port, with a shorter lead time of 2-3 days recommended.

HSFO and VLSFO availability remains normal in Mundra on India’s northwest coast and requires about six days of lead time.

HSFO, VLSFO and LSMGO availability is said to be normal in Sri Lanka’s Colombo. Recommended lead times for the grades are about six days. However, bad weather conditions have disrupted bunkering at Colombo’s outer port limits (OPL) area. Some suppliers are trying to supply stems at the OPL when the weather allows, a source says.

Similarly, bunkering has been disrupted in Trincomalee, which is located on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. One supplier can supply VLSFO and LSMGO stems for prompt dates if the weather permits. Due to rough weather conditions, the supplier has been moving deliveries from Trincomalee’s Back Bay anchorage to Round Islands.

But deliveries at Round Islands can be only undertaken during the daytime, as vessel navigation is not permitted during night hours, the supplier added.    


Middle East

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is said to be good in Fujairah. One supplier can supply them with lead times of four days, another requires six days. Securing HSFO stems for prompt dates can be hard. The earliest delivery date with one supplier is from 18 February, while another can supply from 22 February onwards.

LSMGO availability remains good across the Omani ports of Duqm, Sohar, Salalah and Muscat, with prompt dates available.

By Nithin Chandran


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 8 February, 2023

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