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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

16 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:

15 February 2023

  • ARA gasoil stocks rise on Asian and US inflows
  • Bunkering resumes partly in Gibraltar
  • Prompt supply tight in Nacala amid strong demand


Northwest Europe

Prompt supply of LSMGO is said to be tight in the ARA bunkering hub at the moment. The product has a recommended lead time of around four days in Rotterdam, a source says.

Lead times of 4-5 days are advised for VLSFO delivery in Rotterdam, while HSFO requires around 5-6 days. HSFO delivery prospects in the region are subject to enquiries, a source says.

The ARA’s independently held gasoil stocks – which include diesel and heating oil – have averaged 13% higher so far this month than in January. The region’s gasoil inventories have risen to their highest level in the past year and are slightly above their five-year average position for this time of year, according to Insights Global data.

The EU’s ban on imports of refined Russian oil products kicked in with a hard deadline from 5 February and Vortexa has not picked up any gasoil cargo inflows from Russia so far this month.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as the top source for gasoil and diesel imports to the ARA, accounting for 28% of the region’s total this month, Vortexa data shows. In addition to Saudi Arabia, importers in the ARA have pulled large volumes of gasoil and diesel from far-away Indian ports (15% of total) so far this month, and China (14%), and smaller volumes from a range of other sources including Japan (9%), the US and South Korea (7%).

The ARA’s independent fuel oil stocks have averaged 2% lower so far this month than in January and have remained below their five-year average position for the year. No Russian fuel oil cargo imports to the ARA have been picked up by Vortexa since January. This indicates that Russian fuel oil imports were phased out in January, after making up 10% of the ARA’s total in December.

In Germany’s Hamburg, prompt supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal, while HSFO delivery prospects remain subject to enquiry, 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. Securing prompt delivery of HSFO can be difficult there, the source adds.



Bunker deliveries in most Gibraltar Strait ports will remain subject to weather conditions in the coming days as the weather is forecast to deteriorate through this week, sources say.

Bunkering resumed partly on Tuesday in Gibraltar and in the adjacent port of Algeciras. This has helped suppliers to clear some of their backlogs in the region, sources say.

Gibraltar’s bunker backlog halved from 16 vessels on Tuesday morning to eight vessels on Wednesday morning, according to port agent MH Bland. A huge bunker backlog had built in port at the start of this week as bunkering was suspended since Thursday last week.

Suppliers in Gibraltar have been busy clearing their bunker backlog and are not offering new deliveries for prompt dates. One supplier in the region is not fixing new stems until the end of next week.

While the weather remains a concern in Gibraltar and Algeciras this week, several vessels have been diverted to receive bunkers at alternative locations. Alternative bunker locations in the wider Mediterranean region include Las Palmas, Tenerife, Sines, Lisbon, Kali Limenes and Piraeus.

Suppliers in Portuguese and Greek ports have seen an uptick in demand in recent days. Bunker-only calls have increased in the Portuguese ports of Lisbon and Sines.

Demand has also picked up Las Palmas, where one supplier is completely booked for prompt deliveries. Bunker operations are running normally in Las Palmas. Strong winds and high swells are forecast to hit the port on Friday, which could complicate deliveries at its outer anchorage.

Bunkering has been limited in Malta this week, according to MH Bland. Only one in six bunkering areas off Malta are open for supply due to rough weather conditions. Suppliers in Malta are not taking any new offers. A jetty in Valletta has been damaged by rough weather and is expected to limit product loadings and bunkering in Valletta and in bunker locations off Malta for a week, according to sources.

Bunker operations have been suspended in Turkey’s Port of Iskenderun since Monday last week after a deadly earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, according to sources. Iskenderun’s port infrastructure suffered a severe damage from the earthquake, which was followed by a major fire incident on 6 February.

It might take weeks or months for Iskenderun to resume bunkering and other port operations, a source says. Meanwhile, bunkering is progressing as normal in Istanbul, a source says.



Bunkering has been going ahead as normal in Algoa Bay this week amid conducive weather conditions, according to Rennies Ships Agency. There is forecast of favourable weather until Sunday morning.

15 vessels are scheduled to arrive for bunkers in Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay for the rest of the week, Rennies says.

Bunker fuel availability 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 strong demand, a source says. 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. Five 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: 16 February, 2023

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