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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

15 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:

14 February 2023

  • OPL bunkering suspended in Zhoushan
  • Demand weak in Hong Kong
  • Availability good across several Indian ports



Bunker demand has been normal in Singapore so far this week. Availability of VLSFO and HSFO grades has improved slightly, with lead times shortening from 8-10 days last week to 7-8 days for VLSFO and 6-9 days for HSFO now.

Prompt LSMGO availability has improved. Lead times of 2-3 days are now advised, down from 5-6 days last week.

Singapore’s residual fuel oil stocks have averaged 3% higher so far this month than in January, according to Enterprise Singapore. The build has come despite a 17% decline in net imports. Both imports and exports are down this month.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s middle distillate stocks have averaged 11% lower so far in February than on average in January.


East Asia

Bad weather has kept bunkering suspended in Zhoushan’s outer port limits (OPL) area since Monday, according to White Whale Shipping Agency.

Weather-related disruptions have led to bunker congestion in the Chinese bunkering hub. OPL bunkering is likely to resume in Zhoushan from Wednesday evening, when calmer weather is forecast.

Some suppliers in Zhoushan are running low on VLSFO and LSMGO, while others have stocks. However, this has not led to tightness as demand remains very low, a source says.

VLSFO and LSMGO stems require 3-5 days of lead time in the Chinese bunkering hub. Availability of HSFO remains normal in the port, with lead times of 5-7 days.

However, strong wind gusts of 19-26 knots and waves up to a metre are forecast to hit Zhoushan between Friday and Tuesday next week, which might trigger yet another bunker suspension.

Strong winds and swells are forecast in Hong Kong, which could hamper bunkering until the beginning of next week.

Availability remains normal across all grades in Hong Kong, while demand has weakened of late, a source says. Recommended lead times are seven days across all fuel grades in the port. While lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO have gone up from 3-4 days last week, lead times for HSFO have been unchanged at seven days in both weeks.

Lead times for all grades across southern South Korean ports vary widely, with the shortest requiring three days and the longest needing almost 11 days. However, lead times are short in western South Korean ports at four days but are priced at a premium, a source says.

A source says rough weather might impact bunkering across the South Korean ports of Ulsan, Onsan, Daesan, Taean and Yeosu between 14-15 February and from 19 February onwards.

Bad weather might disrupt bunker operations in the Philippine port of Subic Bay throughout the week.

Strong wind gusts between 39-40 knots are forecast to hit the Thai ports of Koi Sichang and Leam Chabang on 17 February, which might hamper bunkering operations.


South Asia

Mumbai has good availability of VLSFO and LSMGO, 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, Cochin and Chennai on the southern coast, and Visakhapatnam on the southwestern coast.

Availability of grades are subject to enquiry in Tuticorin in the southeast coast and Haldia on the eastern coast of India.

LSMGO availability remains good across the Sri Lankan ports of Colombo and Trincomalee, with prompt dates available.


Middle East

Most suppliers in Fujairah have been clearing backlogs created due to bad weather last week. This has contributed to slight tightness in the UAE port’s bunker market, which might persist until 19 February. However, some suppliers can offer prompt dates, a source says.

Lead times of around 11 days are recommended for HSFO, six days for VLSFO and four days for LSMGO in Fujairah.

By Tuhin Roy


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 15 February, 2023

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