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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

ARA gasoil stocks grow to one-year highs; bunkering in Algeciras and Las Palmas hit by weather; bunker fuel supply normal in South African ports.




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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:

25 January, 2023

  • ARA gasoil stocks grow to one-year highs
  • Bunkering in Algeciras and Las Palmas hit by weather
  • Fuel supply normal in South African ports

Northwest Europe

Supply of LSMGO is said to be normal in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA hub, while securing VLSFO and HSFO deliveries for prompt dates can be difficult there, sources say. 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 risen to one-year highs this month as importers in the region have pulled large cargo volumes from Russia ahead of the EU's ban on imports of Russian refined products. The inventories have averaged 16% higher so far this month than in December, according to Insights Global data.

Russia remains the top source for gasoil imports in the ARA with 31% of the total, according to cargo tracker Vortexa.

The ARA’s independent fuel oil stocks have also averaged 7% higher so far this month than in December, but kept below their five-year average position for the year, Insights Global data shows.

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. Unlike the EU’s import ban on Russian crude, there will not be a 45-day wind-down period for petroleum products.

Some traders and suppliers ENGINE has spoken to only expect LSMGO and VLSFO supply to tighten in the ARA and wider northwest Europe region in the third quarter of this year.

That is partly because gasoil and diesel inventories have been adding weight in the ARA, and as peak seasonal diesel demand has yet to set in. If the upcoming summer driving season will be busy for European motorists, and if heavy, diesel-fuelled machinery is in full swing, diesel supplies will come under relentless pressure.

Moreover, the ARA is a transshipment and storage hub for oil going to other European ports and further away. If oil trade in and out of the hub drops, it will conceivably mean less control over supply to meet sudden and unexpected shifts in demand. It could also mean reduced resilience against supply shocks, such as multiple local refinery turnarounds at the same time.

In Germany’s Hamburg, supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal, while HSFO delivery prospects remain subject to enquiry, a source says.

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


Availability of LSMGO is said to be normal in Gibraltar. But securing large volumes of VLSFO and HSFO for prompt dates can be slightly difficult there, sources say.

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

Bunkering was suspended in Algeciras on Wednesday and remained limited in Las Palmas due to adverse weather conditions, according to port agent MH Bland.

Swells of up to 2 metres hit Algeciras on Wednesday, disrupting bunker deliveries there. Three suppliers in the port experienced 2-8 hours of delays, MH Bland says.

While bunkering is suspended in Algeciras, congestion has built in the adjacent Gibraltar. Five vessels were waiting to receive bunkers in Gibraltar on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, bunkering is progressing normally in other regional ports including Ceuta, Tenerife and Malta.

Slight congestion has been reported in Ceuta this week. Six vessels were due to arrive for bunkers in Ceuta on Wednesday, according to shipping agent Jose Salama & Co.

Bunker fuels supply is said to be normal in Las Palmas. The port has been facing bad weather conditions since last week, restricting some bunker operations at Las Palmas' outer anchorage. Even as the outer anchorage is technically open for bunker operations, suppliers are not delivering stems there due to weather-related risks, according to MH Bland.

Bunker deliveries via ex-pipe at berth or by barge at Las Palmas' inner anchorage are available, MH Bland says. However, the inner anchorage has a limited bunker capacity of only one vessel at a time.

Bunker fuel availability is said to be normal in Malta, sources say.

All bunkering areas off Malta opened for supply on Tuesday, according to Seatrans Shipping agency. Only one in six bunkering areas off Malta were open for bunkering for periods last week amid strong winds.

No congestion has been reported in Malta this week, according to Seatrans Shipping agency. An average of 12 vessels have arrived to bunker in Malta each day this week, up from 10 last week.

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


Bunker operations have been kept on standby in Algoa Bay since Tuesday due to rough weather conditions, according to Rennies Ships Agency. Swells of 3.8 metres hit the bay on Wednesday, disrupting bunker deliveries there.

Two vessels were waiting to bunker at anchorage on Wednesday, and 13 more are scheduled to arrive for bunkers in Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth this week, Rennies says. Bad weather conditions are forecast to prevail this week, which could cause more delays and disruptions.

Bunker fuel availability is said to be normal in Algoa Bay, but deliveries remain subject to weather conditions this week, a source says. Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is also normal in Durban, with recommended lead times of around seven days.

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

By Shilpa Sharma


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 25 January, 2023

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Photo essay: e-BDN trial of “One Truth” at Singapore port

Manifold Times was onboard the 20,182 TEU capacity One Truth to witness the latest e-BDN trial between ONE and Shell on 9 September.





ONE Truth e BDN 17

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) launched a digital bunkering initiative on 1 November 2023, enabling Singapore to become the first port in the world to implement electronic bunker delivery notes (e-BDN).

To date, over 100 e-BDN trials involving more than 20 companies within the Singapore bunkering ecosystem have been conducted since January 2023.

Singapore-headquartered container shipping firm Ocean Network Express (ONE) earlier invited Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times onboard the 20,182 TEU capacity One Truth to witness its latest e-BDN trial with Shell.

In a rare glimpse, the following images were captured during the event on 9 September:

Related: ONE completes e-BDN adoption trial with Shell in Port of Singapore
Related: Singapore set to become first port in the world to debut electronic bunker delivery notes

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 17 November 2023

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Argus: ARA B100-MGO bunker fuel average weekly spread flips to discount

Spread of marine biodiesel with 100pc advanced FAME in ARA on a dob basis to conventional MGO flipped to a $70.28/t discount in the week to 15 September for the first time since January.





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The spread of marine biodiesel with 100pc advanced fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) in ARA on a dob basis to conventional marine gasoil (MGO) flipped to a $70.28/t discount in the week to 15 September for the first time since January. This factors in the value of Dutch renewable fuel units (HBEs) that can be claimed for the blending of advanced biofuels.

18 September 2023 

Conventional MGO prices have firmed in ARA, averaging $964/t in the week to 15 September, the strongest weekly level since November 2022. MGO levels firmed on the back of tightening gasoil supply in northwest Europe, resulting in distillate blendstocks getting redirected towards road-fuel diesel grades commanding a greater premium and away from MGO supply. Market participants also noted tighter availability of conventional MGO in recent trading sessions in line with tighter supply of blending components.

B100 levels, which incorporate a discount based on the double counting of advanced HBEs, slipped on lacklustre demand for the product, according to market participants, who had previously mentioned that the price of B100 weighed on bunker fuel demand compared with conventional bunker fuels and B30 marine biodiesel blends. This may now change if B100 continues to price at a discount to MGO.

Further, the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) is scheduled to commence next year, which may provide an additional incentive for shipowners to switch to B100. Argus estimates that a B100 blend comprising 100pc advanced fame will not be subject to ETS costs, as ETS emissions will be calculated on a tank to wake basis.

Shipowners running vessels with scrubbers may still opt to burn high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) and pay for the CO2 costs, according to market participants. B100 commanded a premium of $36.29/t against dob HSFO when CO2 costs are factored on the week to 15 September, according to Argus calculations. But B100 also flipped to a discount of $2/t to dob HSFO with CO2 costs on 15 September for the first time since April. Further, HSFO availability has been tight in northwest Europe in recent sessions, resulting in dob HSFO levels firming to $603/t on 15 September — the highest since June 2022. Shipowners with vessels that are not fitted with scrubbers are unable to utilise HSFO or even VLSFO in Emission Control Areas (ECA), but are able to burn B100.

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 20 September, 2023

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Bunker Fuel Availability

ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Fuel oils tight and stocks drawn in Singapore; Singapore biofuel bunker sales hit new milestone; strong demand and pressure on prompt in Fujairah.






The following article regarding regional bunker fuel availability outlook for the East of Suez region has been provided by online marine fuels procurement platform ENGINE for publication on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

  • Fuel oils tight and stocks drawn in Singapore
  • Singapore biofuel bunker sales hit new milestone
  • Strong demand and pressure on prompt in Fujairah


HSFO and VLSFO availability is very tight for prompt delivery dates in Singapore, as it was last week. Demand has been strong and lead times for the two grades are roughly the same as last week, at 6-10 days and 7-11 days, respectively. But conditions can quickly change, a trader says.

Buyers can expect to pay price premiums for VLSFO deliveries that are prompter than the recommended lead time, and VLSFO offers can vary greatly between suppliers.

A recent fuel oil stock draw has underpinned the pressure on VLSFO and HSFO. Stocks have been drawn this month during a period of declining net imports, and have come down from nearly 24 million bbls in April to just over 20 million bbls now. More exports to China, South Korea and Bangladesh in particular have weighed on stock levels.

LSMGO continues to be more readily available and can be delivered as soon as 2-5 days after enquiry. The port’s middle distillate stocks have swelled by 17% so far this month over August levels.

B24-VLSFO biofuel blends can be delivered with just over a week of lead time at a minimum with certain suppliers. But 30 days is generally the recommended lead time. Bio-blended VLSFO sales hit an all-time record of 52,500 mt in August, up from 39,000 mt in July.

No sales of bio-blended HSFO, MGO or ULSFO were recorded, and B24-VLSFO seems to be the standard grade and more recent trials and regular biofuel refuelling have supported the growth.

East Asia

Low bunker demand has kept tightness in check in Zhoushan, with most supplier advising unchanged lead times of 3-5 days for all grades. But bad weather is forecast in Zhoushan between 19-20 September, which may hamper bunker deliveries, a source adds.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is good in north China’s Dalian. Nearby Tianjin has ample VLSFO availability, while LSMGO and HSFO grades can be tight and subject to enquiry.

VLSFO and LSMGO grades are tight for prompt dates in Shanghai, and HSFO is even less readily available.

In South China, Hong Kong has normal availability of all grades, but lead times of at least 5-7 days are recommended for good coverage from suppliers. 

The southern South Korean ports of Busan, Ulsan, Onsan and Yeosu face potential bunker disruptions from strong winds and waves from Wednesday to Sunday. Bunkering could also be held back in the western ports of Daesan and Taean this week, with high waves forecast on Friday and winds on Saturday and Sunday. 

LSMGO and HSFO availability is normal across South Korean ports. VLSFO is tight, especially in western ports where only two suppliers offer it.

South Asia

VLSFO and LSMGO continue to be in tight supply in Mumbai, Tuticorin, Haldia and Visakhapatnam, with delivery prospects subject to enquiry.

The grades are comparatively much more available in Kandla, Cochin and Chennai, where lead times of only 2-3 days are recommended.

Middle East

Robust demand has kept pressure on availability in Fujairah. Recommended lead times for all bunker grades are around the same as in recent weeks, at 5-7 days. Some suppliers can still deliver more prompt, but likely at price premiums.

The port’s heavy distillate and residual fuel oil stocks have been drawn below 9 million bbls this month. That is far below the 14 million bbls at the beginning of the year. Its middle distillate stocks have more than halved since the summer, from 4 million bbls to just 1.62 million bbls.

VLSFO and LSMGO look tight in the wider Middle Eastern region. They are in limited supply by the Suez Canal and Djibouti, and tight in Jeddah.

Omani ports including Sohar have normal availability of both VLSFO and LSMGO.

By Erik Hoffmann

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 20 September, 2023

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