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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Prompt VLSFO and HSFO supply tight in Singapore; bad weather hinders bunkering in Zhoushan; LSMGO availability good in Omani ports.




ENGINE East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

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:

18 April 2023

  • Prompt VLSFO and HSFO supply tight in Singapore
  • Bad weather hinders bunkering in Zhoushan
  • LSMGO availability good in Omani ports



Demand has been slow in Singapore so far this week. All bunker grades remain tight in the port. Lead times of 10-12 days are recommended for VLSFO deliveries – slightly lower than last week's 11-13 days, while HSFO requires 4-11 days – marginally up from 3-10 days last week.

LSMGO supply is said to be normal there, requiring lead times of 3-7 days – almost unchanged from last week.

Singapore’s residual fuel oil stocks have averaged 6% higher so far this month than in March, according to Enterprise Singapore. Stocks are higher despite a 51% drop in net imports. Exports are up by a massive 55%, while imports are down by 18% to a nine-month low. This has pushed the port’s trade balance further into net exports this month.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s middle distillate stocks have declined by 6% so far this month over March levels.


East Asia

Bunker deliveries have resumed at Zhoushan's slightly more sheltered Xiushandong anchorage and at the port's inner anchorage of Mazhi on Tuesday after being suspended by rough weather since Sunday, a source says.

Meanwhile, bunkering is still suspended at the port’s Tiaozhoumen and Xiazhimen anchorages. Calmer weather conditions from Friday could allow bunkering to fully resume across anchorages.

Lead times of 5-7 days are generally recommended for VLSFO and HSFO deliveries in the Chinese bunkering hub – unchanged from last week. LSMGO availability is good, with lead times of 3-5 days.

In Hong Kong, HSFO availability has become more limited and subject to enquiry. But availability of VLSFO and LSMGO has improved in the port. Lead times have halved from past week's 8-9 days to around four days now.

Meanwhile, availability across all bunker fuel grades have improved in South Korean ports. While lead times for all grades have shortened in southern South Korean ports from 3-10 days last week to 3-7 days now, lead times across all fuel grades are even shorter in western South Korean at 4-5 days.

South Korean ports have been pricing VLSFO very competitively recently, which might spur further demand in the days to come, a source says.

Rough weather conditions are forecast between 21-24 April and could trigger intermittent suspensions or disrupt deliveries in the ports in the South Korean ports of Ulsan, Onsan, Daesan, Taean and Yeosu.

Adverse weather conditions are also predicted to hamper bunker deliveries in the Thai port of Koh Sichang between 21-22 April, the Vietnamese port of Hai Phong between 21-23 April, and the Kiwi port of Tauranga on 22 April.


South Asia

VLSFO and LSMGO availability remains good in India's Visakhapatnam and Kandla, with shorter lead time of 2-3 days.

Cochin and Chennai on the southern coast of India also have good availability, while VLSFO and LSMGO remain subject to availability in Mumbai. Both grades remain subject to enquiry in Tuticorin and Haldia ports. One supplier in Paradip is running low on VLSFO stocks.

However, bad weather may disrupt bunkering in India’s west coast ports of Sikka and Kandla between 20-22 April and 19-22 April, respectively, and in the southwestern port of Visakhapatnam on 19-22 April, a source says.

The Sri Lankan ports of Colombo and Trincomalee have good availability of LSMGO, with prompt dates available.


Middle East

Prompt availability of all bunker fuel grades is tight in Fujairah as several suppliers are still grappling with loading delays caused by bad weather last week. Demand has been good in the port, a source says. Lead times of 5-7 days are recommended across all grades – similar to last week. However, some suppliers can offer prompt stems for all grades depending on the quantity, a source says.

Lead times of 5-7 days are also advised across all fuel grades in another UAE port of Khorfakkan - unchanged over the last couple of weeks.

The Omani ports of Muscat, Salalah, Sohar and Duqm have LSMGO readily available.

By Tuhin Roy


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 19 April, 2023

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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.





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: 


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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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.





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.





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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