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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

13 Oct 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:

By Shilpa Sharma

12 October 2022

  • HSFO supply tight in Gibraltar Strait ports
  • ARA fuel oil stocks recover from multi-month lows
  • Bunkering resumes in Algoa Bay

Northwest Europe

Prompt supply of LSMGO and VLSFO is said to be normal in Rotterdam and other ports in the ARA hub, sources say. Securing HSFO deliveries for prompt dates can be difficult.

Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO in the ARA are 3-4 days, while HSFO requires up to seven days, a source says.

Meanwhile, independently held fuel oil inventories in the ARA bounced back last week, coming up from five-month lows, according to Insights Global data. The stocks increased by 520,000 bbls to 7.11 million bbls in the week to 6 October. However, the inventories continue to be below their five-year average for the time of the year.

Signs of higher imports and a potential resumption in inflows from Russia could have contributed to the most recent stock build-up.

Cargo tracker Vortexa did not register any Russian fuel oil imports to the ARA between July and September, but picked up some quantities of inflows this month. However, most of the region’s fuel oil imports came from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania and the UK this month.

The region’s gasoil stocks increased by 200,000 bbls, to 13.81 million bbls last week. The inventories reached their highest level since December last year, but continue to be far below their five-year average position.

Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal off Skaw, while HSFO is slightly tight for prompt delivery, a source says. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO deliveries are around seven days. HSFO requires a longer lead time of around 10 days.

Workers at ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies’ refineries in France are on strike over pay disputes. The strike action has impacted bunker supply in the French ports of Dunkirk and Le Havre, sources say. LSMGO supply is tight there, and securing VLSFO deliveries are difficult for prompt dates.


VLSFO and LSMGO supply is said to be normal in Gibraltar Strait ports, but HSFO is tight for prompt delivery, sources say. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO deliveries in the region are around 3-4 days, while HSFO requires longer period of up to seven days, a source says.

Two suppliers in Gibraltar Strait are running low on HSFO stocks.

Prompt supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in Gibraltar, Algeciras, Ceuta and Las Palmas, sources say.

Bad weather conditions have raised concerns over smooth bunker deliveries in Las Palmas. Strong winds, and waves ranging up to 1.8 metres, are forecast to hit Las Palmas on Wednesday, which could disrupt bunker operations at the port’s weather-exposed outer anchorage.

Even though Las Palmas’ outer anchorage was open for bunker operations on Wednesday, some vessels had been taking deliveries at the more sheltered inner anchorage, port agent MH Bland says. Delays are expected this week as the weather is set to worsen towards the end of the week and stay rough until Saturday.

Congestion has been reduced in Gibraltar this week, and no backlogs have been reported in Malta or Ceuta. Two vessels were waiting to bunker in Gibraltar on Wednesday, down from five on Tuesday. One supplier was experiencing 16-20 hours of delay, MH Bland says.

10 vessels were due to arrive for bunkers in Ceuta on Wednesday, up from eight on Tuesday, shipping agent Jose Salama & Cia says.

VLSFO and LSMGO supply is normal in Malta, with some suppliers offering prompt deliveries, a source says.

In the Greek port of Piraeus, suppliers can offer limited quantities of VLSFO, LSMGO and HSFO for prompt dates.


Suppliers are working through a backlog of vessels in Algoa Bay, where bunkering resumed on Wednesday after being suspended for two days due to bad weather.

Two vessels received bunkers at anchorages on Wednesday, while four were held up waiting, according to Rennies Ships Agency. 16 vessels are scheduled to arrive for bunkers in Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay this week.

Suppliers in Algoa Bay are said to have normal availability of fuel volumes. VLSFO continues to be priced considerably lower than in nearby Durban.

Availability of LSMGO is normal in Durban, but VLSFO is tight for prompt dates, sources say. The recommended lead time for VLSFO delivery in Durban is around 10 days, and LSMGO requires around seven days.

Workers at South Africa’s logistic company Transnet have been on strike since 6 October over pay disputes. Strike action that could span across South African ports has raised serious concerns over cargo operations. But no impact has so far been seen on bunker operations, sources say.


Photo credit: ENGINE
Published: 13 October, 2022

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