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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

23 Mar 2021

The following article regarding regional bunker fuel availability outlooks for East of Suez ports with special attention to availability in Singapore has been provided by online marine fuels procurement platform ENGINE for publication on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

16 March 2021

VLSFO supply has tightened in Fujairah and Busan since last week, while lead times for low sulphur bunkers are unchanged on the week in Singapore, Zhoushan and Tokyo.

Several suppliers in Fujairah have been unable to offer stems since Thursday last week, as a local refinery has been experiencing technical issues. Barge loadings from the refiner have been delayed, limited supply volumes and hiking prices.

As a result, lead times for VLSFO stems in Fujairah have gone up by four days, to 11 days now, while lead times for LSMGO are four days shorter than last week. Fujairah’s fuel oil stocks have dropped to their lowest levels in many months, limiting available volumes to the bunker market.

Singapore’s residual fuel oil stocks swelled by 4% to 22.8 million bbls last week. That is their highest level since mid-December last year, according to Enterprise Singapore data.

Despite the stockbuild, lead times for residual fuels are long in Singapore. VLSFO stems continue to require bookings of up to nine days ahead, and HSFO380 stems 12-15 days ahead. The port’s middle distillate stocks dropped to a five-week low of 14.36 million bbls this week. Lead times for LSMGO stems, however, are steady for another week, at 4-6 days.

Singapore’s bunker sales fell from January to February, as bunker and cargo volumes were capped in the shortest month of the year.

VLSFO and HSFO sales dipped to 4.12 million mt in Singapore in February, bringing the port’s total sales 9% below its levels in January, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

Zhoushan continues to have fuels available for prompt deliveries, with lead times for low sulphur fuel stems steady on the week at three days. One bunker supplier is sold out in the Chinese port, but this has not had a significant impact on fuel availability or deliveries. The supplier is expected to replenish its stocks after 23 March. Other suppliers have better availability of bunker fuels.

Bunker availability is also good in the neighbouring port of Shanghai, with suppliers able to deliver on prompt basis with lead times at 2-3 days ahead.

VLSFO and LSMGO stems continue to be tight in Tokyo, with lead times steady on the week at 7-10 days. One supplier is operating under berth restrictions due to carried out maintenance in Tokyo Bay, contributing to keep the port’s market tight. However, some suppliers can deliver at shorter notice of 7-8 days.

Japanese low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) stocks have fallen by a further 6% to a multi-month low of 3.97 million bbls.

Higher HSFO production contributed to grow Japanese HSFO stocks by 4% to a nine-week high of 7.52 million bbls last week. Japan did not import any HSFO, but exported 738,000 bbls – the highest levels in many months.

Low sulphur bunker fuels have tightened for another week in South Korean ports. Lead times have increased by three days to 10 days for VLSFO and LSMGO stems in Busan. Fuel availability seems to be better in the South Korea’s western ports, with the earliest delivery dates 5-6 days ahead. HSFO380 availability has been persistently tight throughout the country’s ports in recent weeks.

Bunker fuels continue to be in short supply in Far East Russian ports. Cargoes are being sold to support export contracts, which has tightened the bunker market, according to trading sources.


Photo credit: ENGINE

Published: 23 March, 2021

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