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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

15 Dec 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:

14 December 2022

  • Russian fuel oil flows into the ARA again
  • Gibraltar Strait grapples with weather disruptions
  • Bunker supply normal in Algoa Bay and Durban

 

Northwest Europe

Bunker fuel availability is said to be normal for all fuel grades in the ARA hub, with several suppliers offering prompt deliveries of LSMGO in the region. Recommended lead times for LSMGO and VLSFO in Rotterdam are 3-4 days, while HSFO requires around 5-6 days, sources say.

The ARA’s independent fuel oil stocks have averaged 1% higher so far this month than in November, according to Insights Global data. Stocks have increased despite signs of a drop in net imports. Meanwhile, Russia has once again emerged as the top fuel oil import source for the region in December.

According to cargo tracker Vortexa, Russia has accounted for 37% of total fuel oil inflows to the ARA so far in December. This is the first time since August that Vortexa has picked up a Russian fuel oil cargo arrival in the ARA. Other sources of fuel oil imports to the region this month have included the UK, Finland, France, Denmark, Poland and Germany.

The ARA’s average gasoil stocks have also increased this month, but remain far below their five-year average position. This comes as gasoil imports to the region have increased by a significant 274,000 b/d over November levels. Russia remains the top gasoil import source for the ARA.

Strike action at BP’s Rotterdam refinery ended last week, which is set to further boost bunker fuel supply in the ARA, according to sources. The strike had left BP’s 393,800 b/d nameplate capacity at Rotterdam refinery idled for nearly two weeks.

Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal off Skaw, requiring lead times of around seven days, a source says. Prompt availability of HSFO is tight and may require longer lead times, the source adds.

 

Mediterranean

Key ports in the Gibraltar Strait are facing weather-related disruptions this week. Bunker fuel supply across all grades is said to be normal in the region, but adverse weather conditions could delay deliveries there, sources say.

Suppliers are working to clear bunker backlogs in Gibraltar after bunkering resumed from a one-day suspension on Wednesday. All suppliers experienced delays on Wednesday due to bad weather, according to port agent MH Bland. 18 vessels were waiting to bunker in the port.

Suppliers in Algeciras and Ceuta have also been struggling to deliver stems due to adverse weather conditions. Anchorage bunkering has been suspended in Ceuta on Wednesday. Weather is forecast to remain rough in Ceuta until Saturday, which could cause more delays.

Meanwhile, bunker operations are running normally in other regional bunker locations such as Malta, Las Palmas and Tenerife. All ports and one in six bunkering areas off Malta were operational on Wednesday morning, Seatrans Shipping agency says.

With Gibraltar, Algeciras and Ceuta facing weather-related disruptions, bunker calls are expected to rise in other ports in the Gibraltar Strait and wider Mediterranean region, sources say. An average of eight vessels have arrived to bunker in Malta each day this week, which is almost the same as last week.

With robust demand in Malta this week, securing prompt deliveries of VLSFO and LSMGO can be difficult there, a source says. Prompt delivery prospects for the two grades are expected to improve from next week, the source adds.

Bunker fuel supply is also steady in Las Palmas, sources say.

And in the Greek port of Piraeus, availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal, a source says.

 

Africa

Suppliers are working to clear bunker backlogs in Algoa Bay as bunkering resumed on Wednesday after being suspended for two days, Rennies Ships Agency says. Four vessels were waiting to bunker at anchorage and 14 more are scheduled to arrive in Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth for bunkers this week, Rennies says.

Bunker supply is steady in South Africa’s Durban and Algoa Bay. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO deliveries in Durban are around seven days, a source says.

Prompt supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal in Mozambique’s Nacala, a source says. Four vessels are due to arrive for bunkers in Nacala this week. Suppliers can offer prompt delivery of LSMGO in nearby Maputo, while VLSFO availability is said to be tight this week, the source adds.

By Shilpa Sharma

 

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 15 December, 2022

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