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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

02 Feb 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:

1 February 2023

  • ARA gasoil stocks grow to one-year highs ahead of sanctions
  • Bunkering normal in most Gibraltar Strait ports
  • Fuel supply normal in South African ports


Northwest Europe

Supply of LSMGO is normal in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA bunkering hub. Securing prompt deliveries of VLSFO and HSFO can be slightly difficult there, but some suppliers can deliver for prompt dates depending on the quantity, a source says.

Recommended lead times for LSMGO delivery in Rotterdam are around three days, sources say. VLSFO requires lead times of around 4-5 days and a period of 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 volumes from Russia ahead of the EU’s ban on imports of refined Russian oil products. The inventories have averaged 17% 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 38% of the total, according to cargo tracker Vortexa.

The ARA’s independent fuel oil stocks have also averaged 6% higher so far this month than in December and have risen slightly above 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 crude oil ban, which has a 45-day wind-down period for oil purchased above a $60/bbl price cap, there is no wind-down period for refined oil product imports, a spokesperson from the European Commission has confirmed to ENGINE.

This means that European importers will have to have to look for alternative, non-Russian sources of gasoil, diesel and fuel oil imports in just four days.

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 up to seven days, a source says. Securing HSFO deliveries for prompt dates can be difficult there, the source adds.

Bunker fuel supply is currently said to be normal across French ports. Recent refinery worker strikes in France have not had major impacts on bunker fuel availability and deliveries, according to sources.

Workers all over France are protesting the government’s plans to reform the country’s retirement system, including bumping up the retirement age from 62 to 64. A nation-wide strike was carried out in France on Tuesday.

Availability of VLSFO is normal in the UK’s port of Southampton, a source says.



Prompt supply 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 is moving ahead as normal in most ports in the Gibraltar Strait. Bunker operations at anchorages resumed in Algeciras and Ceuta on Wednesday after being disrupted earlier this week due to bad weather.

Wind speed reduced to a moderate level of 12-14 knots in Algeciras on Wednesday, from more than 22 knots on Tuesday, and suppliers were delivering stems at the port’s outer anchorage, according to port agent MH Bland.

In Ceuta, favourable weather conditions have allowed suppliers to offer bunker deliveries at anchorage on Wednesday. Suppliers were working to clear bunker backlogs in Ceuta, according to shipping agent Jose Salama & Co.

One vessel was waiting to bunker at anchorage in Ceuta on Wednesday, down from five on Tuesday. Eleven more vessels were due to arrive for bunkers in Ceuta on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, bad weather has kept bunkering limited in Las Palmas. 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.

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

Bunkering is progressing normally in Malta’s ports and offshore areas. No congestion has been reported in Malta this week, according to Seatrans Shipping agency.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in the Greek port of Piraeus, while HSFO is tight for prompt dates, a source says.



Bad weather has complicated bunker deliveries in Algoa Bay this week. Strong winds of up to 30 knots hit the bay on Wednesday, disrupting smooth bunker deliveries there, according to sources.

Bunker operations were kept on standby in Algoa Bay on Tuesday. Operations resumed for a short period on Wednesday morning, but were halted again in the evening, the source says. Calmer weather is forecast on Thursday, which might help suppliers to deliver stems and clear backlogs in Algoa Bay, the source adds.

Bunker fuel supply is said to be normal in Algoa Bay, but deliveries remain subject to weather conditions.

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, unchanged from last week. Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in both locations.

By Shilpa Sharma


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 2 February, 2023

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