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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

20 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:

19 October 2022 

  • VLSFO, HSFO supply slightly tight in Gibraltar Strait ports
  • Russia becomes the ARA’s biggest fuel oil source again
  • Bunker supply normal in Durban and 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. Recommended lead times for the two grades in Rotterdam are 3-4 days, while HSFO requires longer lead times of 5-7 days, a source says.

Meanwhile, independently held fuel oil and gasoil inventories in the ARA dropped last week, according to Insights Global data. The region’s fuel oil stocks decreased by 460,000 bbls to 6.65 million bbls in the week to 13 October and remained below their five-year average position.

Russia has regained its position of top fuel oil exporter to the ARA, according to Vortexa cargo tracking data. Most of the region’s fuel oil imports have come from Russia so far in October, and some quantities have arrived from other countries including Estonia, Colombia, France, Bulgaria and Poland.

This came as a surprise as there were no Russian fuel oil volumes imported to the ARA in July, August and September, Vortexa data shows. EU countries have agreed to phase out imports of Russian crude oil and oil products towards embargo deadlines by December and February, respectively. This means that there is still scope for fuel oil and gasoil inflows until February.

The region’s gasoil stocks decreased by a significant 1.43 million bbls to 12.38 million bbls last week. And the stocks continue to be far below their five-year average position.

Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal off Skaw, 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.

Bunker supply is said to be tight across key ports in France including Dunkirk and Le Havre as nation-wide strike over pay hike disputes has hit the supply chain. Workers at ExxonMobil’s two French refineries ended strike late last week, while workers at TotalEnergies’ three refineries are still on strike.

Workers at ExxonMobil’s 140,000 b/d Fos and 240,000 b/d Port Jerome refineries are gradually returning to work after a strike action that lasted more than three weeks. These refineries could take 2-3 weeks to fully restart operations, a company spokesperson told Reuters.

 

Mediterranean

Securing prompt delivery of VLSFO can be slightly difficult in Gibraltar, a source says. One supplier in the Gibraltar Strait expects to be low on VLSFO stocks until around 24 October.

Gibraltar’s VLSFO price is at a slight discount to Las Palmas, while at premiums over other regional ports including Algeciras, Malta and Ceuta. Prompt supply of LSMGO is said to be normal in Gibraltar, while HSFO remains subject to enquiries.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in Algeciras, Malta, Ceuta and Las Palmas, sources say.

Bad weather conditions have raised concerns over smooth bunker deliveries in Las Palmas. Swells of 1.5 metres hit Las Palmas on Wednesday. Strong swells are forecast on Thursday and Friday, which could disrupt deliveries at the port’s weather-exposed anchorages.

Minimal congestion has been reported in Gibraltar and Algeciras this week, according to port agent MH Bland. Bunker operations are running normally in Ceuta. Eight vessels were due to arrive for bunkers on Wednesday, shipping agent Jose Salama & Cia said.

All bunkering areas are open for supply in Malta. 10 were due to arrive for bunkers in and off Malta on Wednesday, up from seven on Tuesday, according to Seatrans Shipping agency.

Prompt supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be tight in the Spanish port of Huelva, a source says.

 

Africa

No bunker backlogs were reported in Algoa Bay on Wednesday, according to shipping agent Sturrock Grindrod. Gale-force winds of up to 38 knots are forecast to hit the region on Thursday, which could disrupt smooth bunker deliveries. Eight vessels are scheduled to arrive for bunkers in Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay this week, Sturrock Grindrod says.

Bunker supply is said to be normal in Algoa Bay. VLSFO continues to be priced considerably lower than in nearby Durban.

In Durban, availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal. Recommended lead times for both the grades are around seven days.

Port and rail workers at South Africa’s logistic company Transnet ended a strike this week. Transnet reached a three-year wage deal with one of the two unions that represent the majority of its workers. A resolution to the strikes is expected to ease cargo congestion in Durban and other South African ports, and allow for exports from the country to pick up again.

By Shilpa Sharma

 

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 20 October, 2022

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