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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

19 Jan 2023

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:

18 January 2023

  • ARA gasoil stocks grow with Russian inflows
  • Bunkering in Las Palmas and off Malta hit by weather
  • Fuel supply normal in South African ports


Northwest Europe

Prompt supply of VLSFO and HSFO is currently tight in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA hub, sources say. However, some suppliers can offer LSMGO for prompt dates. Lead times of around five days are advised for VLSFO delivery in Rotterdam and around six days for HSFO.

The ARA’s independently held gasoil stocks have averaged 13% higher so far this month than in December, according to Insights Global data. European buyers have gradually been filling up gasoil storage tanks since last summer, much helped by continuous imports from Russia. Russia remains the top source for gasoil imports in the ARA with 30% of the total, according to cargo tracker Vortexa.

Following the EU’s ban on imports of seaborne Russian crude oil from 5 December, the EU will also ban imports of refined Russian oil products from 5 February. Anticipating a potential diesel and gasoil supply crunch, European buyers have increased imports to build stocks before the products sanctions kick in.

The ARA’s fuel oil stocks have also averaged 7% higher so far this month than in December amid signs of higher net imports, the Insights Global and Vortexa data show. No Russian fuel oil cargoes were picked up by Vortexa to arrive in the region between August and November last year. However, Russian inflows started again in December, and the country has been the ARA’s eighth largest fuel oil import source in January.

Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal in the German port of Hamburg, requiring lead times of around five days, a source says. HSFO delivery prospects remain subject to enquiry there.

In Bremerhaven, supply of LSMGO is said to be normal, while VLSFO is currently tight.

Bunker fuels supply is normal-to-tight for prompt dates off Skaw, requiring lead times of around seven days, a source says. HSFO deliveries remain subject to enquiries in the region, the source adds.



Supply of VLSFO and HSFO is currently tight in Gibraltar. Securing prompt deliveries for the two grades can be difficult this week, sources say. LSMGO supply is said to be normal there.

Lead times of 3-4 days are advised for LSMGO delivery in Gibraltar and around five days for VLSFO. HSFO requires longer period of around six days, a source says.

Bunker operations in the Gibraltar Strait region have been affected by adverse weather conditions this week.

Bunkering at anchorage has been suspended in Ceuta since Tuesday due to bad weather, port agent MH Bland says. Strong winds of up to 35 knots are forecast to hit the port on Wednesday, which could cause more delays, it says. Meanwhile, bunker deliveries via ex-pipe at berth are available in Ceuta, according to shipping agent Jose Salama & Co. Two vessels were waiting to bunker at anchorage on Wednesday and eight more were scheduled to arrive.

Bunker operations in the Port of Huelva have been suspended since Monday due to rough weather. The port is forecast to experience harsh weather conditions until Friday morning, which could keep bunkering suspended, MH Bland says. Bunker deliveries by barge can still be carried out at anchorage.

In Las Palmas, suppliers are not delivering stems at the outer anchorage due to weather-related risks, and only one in six bunkering areas off Malta was open for supply on Wednesday amid strong winds, MH Bland says.

Adverse weather conditions in these ports could increase bunker calls in other regional ports including Gibraltar, Algeciras and Tenerife. One supplier in Gibraltar and three suppliers in Algeciras experienced delays on Wednesday.

Besides, one supplier in Gibraltar has been running low on LSMGO stocks this week.

Bunker fuels availability is said to be normal in Malta, but offshore deliveries remain subject to weather conditions, sources say.

No congestion has been reported in Malta this week, according to Seatrans Shipping agency. An average of 10 vessels have arrived to bunker in Malta each day this week.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal in the Greek port of Piraeus, while securing HSFO stems for prompt dates can be difficult, a source says.



Bunker fuel availability is normal in Algoa Bay and in Durban. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSGMO deliveries in both locations are around seven days, a source says.

Conducive weather has allowed bunker operations to run normally in Algoa Bay this week. But strong winds are forecast to hit the region on Sunday, which could hamper bunker deliveries there, a source says.

One vessel was waiting to receive bunkers in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday. 11 vessels are scheduled to arrive this week for bunkers in Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth, according to Rennies Ships Agency.

Bunkering is going ahead as normal in Mozambique’s Nacala and Maputo ports. A total of five vessels are scheduled to arrive to bunker across the two ports this week. Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in both locations, a source says.

By Shilpa Sharma


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 19 January, 2023

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