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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

31 Mar 2022

The following article regarding Europe and Africa bunker fuel availability has been provided by online marine fuel procurement platform ENGINE for post on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

30 March 2022

  • Bunkers tight across ARA, Gibraltar and Med ports
  • ARA fuel oil stocks drawn as Russian imports decline
  • Gibraltar Strait congestion mounts

Supply is tight across all fuel grades in ARA and Gibraltar Strait ports. Stems require around 5-10 days of lead time. A combination of heightened counterparty risk and self-sanctioning of Russian fuel has compounded with periods of strong bunker demand when prices have dropped, to put pressure on availability of fuel grades and bunker schedules.

Volatile crude prices have forced suppliers to shorten offer validities to only a few minutes, with reconfirmation of prices during fixtures.

ARA’s fuel oil inventories have been drawn to their lowest level since December 2019. While the region’s gasoil stocks recovered some weight on the week, they remain close to multi-year lows, according to Insights Global.

Russia stopped being the biggest source for fuel oil imports to the ARA in the week, replaced by Turkey, Sweden and Poland, according to Vortexa. Bulgaria and the UK also shipped fuel oil that arrived in the ARA. Fuel oil cargoes departed for the UK, France and Spain.

In Hamburg, demand is said to be normal. HSFO380 remains tight and subject to firm enquiry. Recommended lead times for LSMGO and VLSFO are around five days.

Germany has triggered an “early warning level” of its emergency plan for gas security and formed a crisis team to analyse the supply situation. The warning level follows repeated announcements from Russian officials over the past week, saying it will only accept gas payments in roubles from “unfriendly countries”. Russia insists the shift to roubles will only happen gradually, but that it could also be applied to wider set of commodities.

Prompt deliveries are difficult to find across the Mediterranean region, sources say.

Availability of HSFO and LSMGO remains tight across Italian most ports. Only certain suppliers can offer limited prompt deliveries of VLSFO in Genoa, where demand has been good in the past week, a source says.

Gibraltar suffers massive congestion from weather-triggered suspensions in recent days. Suppliers in the port were delayed by 1-3 days and 34 vessels were waiting to bunker on Wednesday, port agent MH Bland says.

In Algeciras, bunker deliveries remained suspended at the more weather-exposed outer C and D anchorages due to bad weather. Suppliers continued to deliver at its inner A and B anchorages, where there were 15 vessels in line to bunker. Deliveries are subject to a final decision, MH Bland says.

Bunker operations on Wednesday normalised at anchorages in Ceuta after being weather triggered suspension in past days.

Weather conditions in are forecast to deteriorate again in the Gibraltar Strait from Saturday through to Tuesday, possibly triggering more suspensions and delays then.

Prompt VLSFO and LSMGO availability is generally fine in South African ports, except for Cape Town where supply is reported tight.


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 31 March, 2022

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