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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

HSFO supply remains tight in Gibraltar Strait ports; ARA fuel oil stocks add more weight, gasoil drawn further; suppliers working through backlog in Algoa Bay.





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:

22 June 2022

  • HSFO supply remains tight in Gibraltar Strait ports
  • ARA fuel oil stocks add more weight, gasoil drawn further
  • Suppliers working through backlog in Algoa Bay


Northwest Europe

VLSFO and LSMGO availability seems normal in ARA ports, while HSFO is tight for prompt delivery, sources say.

The recommended lead time for VLSFO and LSMGO is around three days, while HSFO requires a minimum of five days for delivery in the ARA, they say.

Independently held fuel oil stocks in the ARA added more weight last week with continuous inflows from Russia.

Fuel oil stocks increased by 460,000 bbls to 8.02 million bbls in the week to 16 June, while gasoil inventory decreased by 340,000 bbls to 10.61 million bbls, according to Insights Global data.

The region’s fuel oil stocks have gradually been increasing since a steep fall in April, and gained 47% in volume since then. Meanwhile, the ARA’s gasoil stocks plunged to fresh eight-year lows in the week to 16 June.

Russia is still estimated to be the top source of fuel oil cargoes for ARA importers, accounting for 42% of their total imports in the two first weeks of June, according to cargo tracker Vortexa.

The Port of Rotterdam said last week that the latest set of sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia have “not (yet) affected” its energy imports due to a transition period for phasing out Russian imports of energy products.

On 3 June, the European Council announced a sixth sanction package, prohibiting imports of crude and oil products from Russia. Seaborne crude imports will be phased out over six months, oil products over eight months.

In the German port of Hamburg, bunker fuel availability is said to be normal, but supply of HSFO is under pressure, a source says. Very few suppliers are offering HSFO in Hamburg and in limited quantities.

In Bremerhaven, supply of LSMGO is good while prompt deliveries of VLSFO and HSFO are more difficult to find there, a source says.



HSFO supply is under pressure for prompt delivery in the Gibraltar Strait ports, sources say.

Few suppliers in the Strait currently have HSFO stocks and are offering the grade in limited quantity. However, availability of LSMGO is said to be normal, with a recommended lead time of around four days.

Minimal congestion has been reported in Gibraltar this week. Two suppliers experienced some hours of delays on Wednesday, port agent MH Bland says.

In Ceuta, availability of LSMGO seems normal, requiring lead time of around four days, a source says. Slight congestion was reported in Ceuta on Wednesday, where two vessels were waiting to bunker at anchorage and 11 more were scheduled to arrive, agent Jose Salama & Cia says.

In Malta, all bunker operations are running normally in Area 3 amid conducive weather conditions, Seatrans Shipping agency says.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO seems normal in Malta, as some suppliers are offering deliveries on prompt dates, a source says.



Bunker supplies remain tight in Durban and prompt deliveries of both VLSFO and LSMGO are hard to find, source say.

Some suppliers are expecting replenishment to arrive next week, which could ease pressure on supplies, a source says.

Bunkering is in progress in Algoa Bay, where suppliers have gradually been clearing a backlog of vessels, according to Rennies Ships Agency.

Adverse weather conditions during most part of the last week had built a considerable backlog of vessels in Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth. Bunkering resumed in the bay on 16 June, after a suspension on 15 June due to rough weather conditions.

There were four vessels waiting to bunker in Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth, and four more due to arrive later in the day on Wednesday, Rennies Ships Agency says. An additional 15 vessels are scheduled to arrive between Thursday and Sunday, it says.

Bunker fuel availability is normal in Algoa Bay, but erratic weather conditions remain a concern there, a source says. Strong winds and high swells are forecast in the bay between Friday and Saturday, which could disrupt bunker operations again.


Photo credit: ENGINE
Published: 23 June, 2022

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Kambara Kisen orders methanol dual-fuel bulker from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding

Firm ordered a 65,700-dwt methanol dual-fuel dry bulk carrier with Tsuneishi Shipbuilding; MOL signed a basic agreement on time charter for the newbuilding that is slated to be delivered in 2027.





Kambara Kisen orders methanol dual-fuel bulker from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding

Japanese shipowner Kambara Kisen has ordered a 65,700-dwt methanol dual-fuel dry bulk carrier newbuilding from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd, according to Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) on Wednesday (20 September).

MOL said it signed a basic agreement on time charter for the newbuilding that is slated to be delivered in 2027. 

The vessel will be designed to use e-methanol produced primarily by synthesising recovered CO2 and hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources, and bio-methanol derived from biogas. 

The vessel's design maximises cargo space while ensuring sufficient methanol tank capacity set to allow the required navigational distance assuming various routes, at the same time maximising cargo space. 

MOL added the vessel is expected to serve mainly in the transport of biomass fuels from the east coast of North America to Europe and the U.K. and within the Pacific region, as well as grain from the east coast of South America and the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe and the Far East.

Details on the time-charter contract:

Shipowner: Kambara Kisen wholly owned subsidiary
Charterer: MOL Drybulk Ltd.
Charter period 2027: -

Details on the newbuilding methanol dual fuel bulk carrier:

LOA: About 200 m
Breadth: About 32.25 m
Draft: About 13.80 m
Deadweight: About 65,700 MT
Hold capacity: About 81,500m3
Shipyard: Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

Photo credit: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
Published: 22 September, 2023

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Argus Media: Alternatives may drive methanol market growth

Driven by low-carbon policies and regulations, the transportation sector — especially the marine fuels industry — could be a source of heightened demand, according to Argus.





RESIZED Argus media

The growth of sustainable alternatives to traditional methanol production sources likely will shape the market over the next several years, industry leaders said this week at the Argus Methanol Forum.

20 September 

Driven by low-carbon policies and regulations, the transportation sector — especially the marine fuels industry — could be a source of heightened demand.

"The aim is to be net zero by 2050 but [those solutions are] expensive today and one of the main challenges to build e-methanol or bio-methanol plants is a huge queue for these pieces of equipment that aren't available," Anita Gajadhar, executive director for Swiss-based methanol producer Proman, said.

Bio-based and e-methanol plants of commercial scale, like Proman's natural gas-fed 1.9 million metric tonne/yr M5000 plant in Trinidad and Tobago, are not ready today.

"But that's not to say 10 years from now they won't be there," Gajadhar added.

Smaller projects are popping up. Dutch fuels and gas supplier OCI Global announced plans last week to double the green methanol capacity at its Beaumont, Texas, facility to 400,000 t/yr and will add e-methanol to production for the first time. Production will use feedstocks such as renewable natural gas (RNG), green hydrogen and biogas.

The globally oversupplied methanol market will not get any major supply additions starting in 2024 until 2027. But that oversupply will not last long, Gajadhar said.

Global demand has slowed this year, driven by stagnate economic growth and higher interest rates, according to industry observers.

As much as half of methanol demand is tied to GDP growth, with total methanol demand estimates at 88.9mn t globally in 2023. This is essentially flat from 2022, but up from 88.3m t in 2021 and 87.7mn t in 2020, Dave McCaskill, vice-president of methanol and derivatives for Argus Media's consulting service, said.

Demand is not expected to rebound to 2019 levels of 89.6mn t until 2024 or 2025, he added.

The period of oversupply combined with lackluster demand places methanol in a transition period, Gajadhar said, which opens the door for sustainable feedstock alternatives to shape market growth.

Danish container shipping giant Maersk and French marine logistics company CMA-CGM announced earlier this week a partnership to drive decarbonization in shipping. The partnership seeks to develop fuel and operations standards for bunkering with alternative fuels. The companies will develop net-zero solutions, including new technology and alternative fuels.

Maersk has previously ordered dual-fuel methanol-powered vessels and CMA-CGM LNG-propelled vessels.

The demand for alternative feedstock-derived fuels is there, but the ability to scale-up such production lags. Certified lower-carbon methanol produced using carbon capture and sequestration — also known as blue methanol— can ramp up much more quickly, according to Gajadhar.

By Steven McGinn

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 22 September, 2023

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Royal Caribbean completes over 12 weeks of bio bunker fuel testing in Europe

Firm expanded its biofuel testing this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s “Symphony of the Seas” and Celebrity Cruises’ “Celebrity Apex”.





Royal Caribbean completes over 12 weeks of bio bunker fuel testing in Europe

Royal Caribbean Group on Tuesday (19 September) said it successfully completed over 12 consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe. 

Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas became the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to meet part of her fuel needs. 

The company confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable “drop in” supply of lower emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond. 

The tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region, the firm added. 

Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group, said: “This is a pivotal moment for Royal Caribbean Group’s alternative fuel journey.”

“Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly.”

President of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó, said: “Royal Caribbean’s success is a clear example of how commitment to innovation makes possible the development of solutions to decarbonise the maritime sector.”

“In this case, it involves the cruise sector and focuses on biofuels, an area in which the Port of Barcelona is already working to become an energy hub, producing and supplying zero carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, and of other almost zero-carbon alternative fuels, such as methanol, biofuels or synthetic fuels. Innovation and collaboration between ports and shipping companies is key to accelerate the decarbonisation of maritime transport.”

The company began testing biofuels last year and expanded the trail this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex

The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable. The biofuel blends tested are accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), a globally recognized organization that ensures sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.

With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel’s capabilities. 

“These results will help accelerate Royal Caribbean Group’s plans to continue testing the use of different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings this fall. The company is exploring strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure the availability of biofuel and infrastructures to advance the maritime energy transition,” the firm said. 

Photo credit: Royal Caribbean Group 
Published: 22 September, 2023

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