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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

ARA gasoil stocks at one-year highs, Russian imports banned; bunkering partly halted in Algeciras, Ceuta and Malta; tighter availability amid strong demand in Nacala.

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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:

8 February 2023 

  • ARA gasoil stocks at one-year highs, Russian imports banned
  • Bunkering partly halted in Algeciras, Ceuta and Malta
  • Tighter availability amid strong demand in Nacala

 

Northwest Europe

Prompt availability of LSMGO is normal in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA bunkering hub. Recommended lead times for VLSFO delivery in Rotterdam are about 4-5 days, and HSFO requires 5-6 days, a source says.

The ARA’s independently held gasoil stocks have risen to one-year highs this month as importers pulled large volumes from Russia just before the EU's ban on imports of refined Russian oil products kicked in from 5 February.

The region’s gasoil stocks - which include diesel and heating oil - have averaged 9% higher at the beginning of February than in January. And they have swelled by 56% from a low in June, when EU member states agreed to ban refined Russian oil imports.

Saudi Arabia and Russia were the ARA's two top sources of diesel and gasoil imports in January, accounting for 22% of the ARA's total imports each, according to cargo tracker Vortexa. That was down from 31% from Russia in December, while sharply up from 4% from Saudi Arabia.

The ARA’s independent fuel oil stocks have averaged 3% lower at the start of February than in January and have remained below their five-year average position for the year.

Around 10% of the ARA's fuel oil imports came from Russia in December, with larger volumes from the UK (15%) and Denmark (14%). The UK was overwhelmingly the ARA's biggest source in January, with 24% its total, while it did not import any fuel oil cargoes from Russia, according to Vortexa.

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

Bunker fuel supply is normal-to-tight for prompt dates off Skaw, requiring lead times of up to seven days, a source says. Availability of HSFO for prompt dates is tight, the source adds.

All operations at in the Turkish Port of Iskenderun have been halted after a deadly earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Monday morning. LSMGO is typically supplied by three suppliers in the port, and VLSFO by one.

Meanwhile, bunkering is progressing as normal in Istanbul, a source says.

 

Mediterranean

Supply of LSMGO is said to be normal for prompt dates in Gibraltar, while VLSFO and HSFO deliveries are subject to enquiries.

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 5-6 days, a source says.

Meanwhile, delivery of stems in Gibraltar Strait ports will be subject to weather conditions in the coming days, a source say.

Bunker operations were suspended at the outer anchorage in Algeciras on Wednesday due to rough weather, according to port agent MH Bland. Bunkering was going ahead at Algeciras' inner anchorage, while three suppliers were running 4-18 hours behind schedule in the port, MH Bland says.

Suppliers in Ceuta have also been struggling to deliver stems at anchorage. One bunker barge was suspended operations on Wednesday due to bad weather, according to shipping agent Jose Salama & Co. Two vessels were waiting to receive bunkers at anchorage in Ceuta on Wednesday, and four more vessels were due to arrive.

Bunker fuels availability is said to be normal in Ceuta and Algeciras, and some suppliers can offer prompt deliveries. But forecast of bad weather between Thursday and Saturday could complicate deliveries there, sources say.

Bunkering has been limited in Malta this week, according to Seatrans Shipping agency. Only one in six bunkering areas off Malta are open for supply due to rough weather conditions. Some bunker backlogs have been reported this week, Seatrans says.

Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in and off Malta, but deliveries are subject to weather conditions, a source says.

Availability across all grades is normal in the Greek port of Piraeus, a source says.

Prompt supply of VLSFO is normal in the Portuguese port of Sines.

 

Africa

Bunkering resumed in Algoa Bay on Wednesday, after being suspended on Tuesday due to rough weather, according to Rennies Ships Agency. Bad weather is forecast over the weekend, which could disrupt bunker operations in the bay again. 18 vessels are scheduled to arrive for bunkers in Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay for the rest of the week, Rennies says.

Bunker fuel supply is said to be normal in Algoa Bay and normal-to-tight in Durban. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO deliveries in Durban are around seven days, a source says.

Meanwhile, supply of the two grades is currently tight in Mozambique’s Nacala port amid good demand, a source says. Bunker calls in Nacala have gradually increased from three vessels in each of the first two weeks of January, to 5-6 vessels in each of the last two weeks. Five vessels are expected to arrive for bunkers in Nacala this week.

Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in Mozambique’s capital port city of Maputo. Four vessels are due to arrive for bunkers there this week.

Bunkering deliveries are going ahead as normal across the two ports in Mozambique.

By Shilpa Sharma

 

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 9 February, 2023

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Fuel Testing

Singapore: CTI-Maritec shares testing protocols ahead of mandatory enhanced bunker fuel checks

In light of mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, CTI-Maritec shares recommendations for fuel testing protocols, primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore.

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With mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, bunker fuel testing and marine surveying business Maritec Pte Ltd (CTI-Maritec) has published a newsletter providing recommendations on vital pre-emptive fuel testing measures vessels should be taking as part of their routine fuel testing and also recommendations on optimal testing options available when deep-dive analysis is required to determine a root cause: 

Introduction

On 8 February 2024 the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issued a Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024 regarding the implementation of enhanced testing parameters for marine fuel batches intended to be delivered as bunkers in the Port of Singapore in addition to the existing quality assurance measures.

In accordance with the MPA’s Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024, from 1 June 2024 onwards, bunker suppliers in the Port of Singapore must ensure that:

  • Residual & Bio-residual bunker fuel do not contain Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC) above 50mg/kg and are free from inorganic acids.
  • COC must be tested using the EN 14077 accredited test method and shall be reported in the “Certificate of Quality” (COQ) provided to receiving vessels.
  • Inorganic acids must use the ASTM D664 accredited test method as prescribed in ISO 8217 and the Strong Acid Number (SAN) (in addition to the Total Acid Number (TAN) shall be reported in the COQ (i.e. SAN = 0) provided to receiving vessels. For distillate / bio-distillate bunker marine fuel batches, SAN must be tested as per ASTM D664 test method and reported in the COQ.
  • Residual marine fuels are free from polystyrene, polypropylene & polymethacrylate. These can be tested by filtration, microscopic examination, & Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy analysis.

Testing Recommendations in line with MPA Enhanced Parameters to Protect Your Vessels:

In view of the above, CTI-Maritec recommends fuel testing protocols as depicted in the chart below (as routine pre-emptive measures and/or for deep dive requirements to detect the root cause) to help safeguard vessel health.

Our recommendations are primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore, while recommendations for testing Polymers are advised for requirements of reported problem cases or when highly abnormal GCMS findings of chemical compounds like Styrene, DCPD and Indene are detected.

COC & SAN GCMS testing Packages A to E

Related: Singapore: CTI-Maritec publishes whitepaper on upcoming mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: Marine fuel quality testing agencies applaud move for mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: MPA tightens testing parameters to reduce contaminated bunker fuels
Related: MPA: Glencore and PetroChina supplied contaminated bunkers to about 200 ships in the Port of Singapore

 

Photo credit: Louis Reed from Unsplash
Published: 29 May 2024

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Methanol

VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Firm was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol bunker fuel delivery to “Eco Maestro” in Singapore.

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VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Tuesday (28 May) said it was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe, part of the OCI Global Group, to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol fuel delivery to Eco Maestro in Singapore.

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS, said VPS survey experts Rafael Theseira and Muhd Nazmi Abdul Rahim were at hand during the methanol bunkering to ensure the 300 metric tonnes of methanol transfer was carried out smoothly, having been involved in the first methanol bunkering a year ago. 

Manifold Times recently reported X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) successfully completing the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) in Singapore.

A X-Press Feeder container vessel, Eco Maestro, on its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300 mt of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the SIMOPS was produced by green methanol producer OCI Global and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier.

Captain Choudhuri said the role of the marine, petroleum or bunker surveyor has evolved over the years in shipping and maritime affairs, but the principles have not - and that is to provide independent assessment of the quality and quantity of the product transfer. 

“This may seem obvious but this quality and quantity control is crucial to avoid commercial discrepancies, shortages or fraud,” he said.

“Safety training is critical and we have been on top of this having completed the required MPA fire-fighting course and the IBIA Methanol training course. We will work more with the Singapore Maritime Academy for trainings in future,” he added.

In August last year, Singapore-headquartered independent common carrier X-Press Feeders launched its first ever dual-fuel vessel Eco Maestro in China.

Manifold Times previously reported VPS stating it was the first company to complete a methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) operation in Singapore on 27 July last year.

VPS was appointed by Maersk and Hong Lam Marine Pte Ltd, to undertake the very first bunker quantity survey (BQS) of a methanol fuel delivery, supplied by Hong Lam to the Maersk vessel on its maiden voyage to Europe. 

Related: First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore
Related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Related: X-Press Feeders launches its first methanol dual-fuel vessel “Eco Maestro” in China

 

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 29 May 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor; Gasum’s bunker vessels “Coralius”, “Kairos” and “Coral Energy” will be used for the bunkering operations.

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Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Nordic liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker supplier Gasum on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a long-term contract with Norway-based global energy company Equinor whereby Gasum continues to supply LNG to Equinor’s dual-fuel chartered fleet of vessels. 

The agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor. Gasum’s bunker vessels Coralius, Kairos and Coral Energy will be used for the bunkering operations.

The agreement also includes additional support services such as cooling down and gassing up, which has also been a part of Gasum’s previous collaboration with Equinor. 

Gasum has organised three separate LNG cool down operations for Equinor in Skagen so far this year.

Both Gasum and Equinor have committed to sustainability goals to enable a cleaner energy future. Equinor’s ambition is to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

Using LNG in maritime transport means complete removal of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particles, and reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of up to 85 percent as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions by at least 20%. LNG is interchangeable with liquefied biogas (LBG/bio-LNG), which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to conventional fuel such as marine gasoil (MGO).

With LNG and bio-LNG the maritime industry can reduce emissions already today, instead of waiting for future solutions. Gasum’s strategic goal is to bring yearly seven terawatt hours (7 TWh) of renewable gas to market by 2027. Achieving this goal would mean combined carbon dioxide reduction of 1.8 million tons per year for Gasum’s customers.

Related: Equinor Energy AS extends LNG bunkering agreement with Gasum
Related: Gasum expands LNG bunkering business to ARA region through partnership with Equinor

 

Photo credit: Gasum
Published: 29 May 2024

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