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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

ARA fuel oil stocks grew with UK imports in March; rough weather disrupts Gibraltar Strait bunkering; availability normal in Durban and Algoa Bay.




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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:

5 April 2023 

  • ARA fuel oil stocks grew with UK imports in March
  • Rough weather disrupts Gibraltar Strait bunkering
  • Availability normal in Durban and Algoa Bay


Northwest Europe

Fixing prompt VLSFO and LSMGO stems can be difficult in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA hub as delivery capacity is still under pressure with several suppliers there, sources say. Recommended lead times for the two grades in Rotterdam are around 3-5 days.

HSFO availability is slightly better than last week in the region, but prompt supply remains subject to enquiries, sources say. Lead times of up to four days are advised for the grade.

In Belgium’s Ghent, prompt supply of LSMGO is said to be tight. Two suppliers have been running low on stocks this week, a source says.

The ARA’s independently held fuel oil stocks averaged 9% higher in March than in February as importers pulled large volumes from the UK and other places to substitute banned Russian product.

The UK emerged as the top source for the ARA’s fuel oil imports in March, going by the Vortexa data. Fuel oil imports from the UK accounted for 13% of the region’s total imports. Other sources of fuel oil imports were Saudi Arabia (12%), Poland (10%), Germany (9%) and Denmark (8%).

The ARA's gasoil inventories averaged nearly 1% lower in March than in February. France became the ARA's top gasoil import source in March and accounted for 27% of its total. Other sources of gasoil imports were the UK (20%), Brazil (8%), Norway (6%) and Spain (5%).

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be tight for prompt delivery off Skaw, requiring lead times of up to seven days, a source says. Delivery prospects for HSFO are subject to enquiries, the source adds.



Rough weather conditions have disrupted bunkering in key Gibraltar Strait ports this week. Strong winds and swells forced a bunker suspension in Gibraltar and at Algeciras’ outer anchorage on Wednesday, according to port agent MH Bland says.

Algeciras’ more sheltered inner anchorage was open for bunker operations on Wednesday “but with minimum inbound movements” of vessels, MH Bland says.

Bunkering was also suspended at anchorage in Ceuta, where four vessels were scheduled to arrive for bunkers on Wednesday.

The weather is forecast to remain bad in Algeciras, Ceuta and Gibraltar until Friday, which could cause bunker delays, depending on the intensity and direction of waves and swells.

Bunker deliveries have been suspended at Las Palmas’ outer anchorage since Tuesday. Deliveries at the port’s more sheltered inner anchorage have also been halted since Tuesday on instruction from the harbour master, MH Bland said.

While bunkering remains halted in Las Palmas, bunker calls could be diverted to the nearby port of Tenerife, where moderate weather conditions are expected this week.

Bunker fuels availability is said to be normal in Gibraltar, Algeciras and Ceuta, but deliveries will remain subject to weather conditions, sources say. Two suppliers can offer deliveries for prompt dates, a source says.

Meanwhile, continued spells of rough weather in Gibraltar Strait ports could divert more vessels to the Portuguese ports of Lisbon and Sines for bunker-only calls. LSMGO and VLSFO availability is normal in Lisbon and Sines, a source says.

Fuel supply is also normal off Malta, but pressure on delivery barge schedules has tightened prompt availability, a source says.

Bunker supply of all grades is normal in the Greek port of Piraeus, a source says.



Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in Durban and Algoa Bay. Lead times of up to seven days are advised for deliveries in these two locations, a source says.

However, supply of VLSFO is said to be tight in Cape Town, where securing deliveries for prompt dates can be difficult, a source says.

Bunkering resumed in Algoa Bay on Tuesday after being suspended for a day due to bad weather, according to Rennies Ships Agency. Weather conditions are forecast to remain conducive until Friday morning. However, strong winds and swells are forecast to hit the bay in periods between Friday and Sunday, which could complicate deliveries there. Eight vessels are due to arrive for bunkers in Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay this week, Rennies says.

By Shilpa Sharma


Photo credit and souce: ENGINE
Published: 6 April, 2023

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China: Cosco Shipping and bp to explore collaboration in methanol bunker fuel 

Duo signed a MoU in Shanghai to expand their scope of strategic cooperation into new areas including lubricant supply, methanol bunker fuel supply for bunkering and offshore wind supply chain.





China: Cosco Shipping and bp to explore collaboration into methanol bunker fuel

Cosco Shipping on Thursday (7 December) said it has signed  a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with bp to expand their scope of strategic cooperation into new areas on 5 December in Shanghai.

“This includes Castrol Marine lubricants and hydrocarbons transportation, offshore equipment as well as exploring collaboration opportunities in areas such as methanol supply for bunkering and offshore wind supply chain,” Cosco said. 

“Together, both parties will further capitalize on the business advantages of both parties, enhance synergies, and achieve complementary advantages and common development.”

William Lin, bp Group Executive Vice President, and Lin Ji, Executive Vice President of COSCO SHIPPING, witnessed the signing. Simon Yang, bp Group Senior Vice President and bp China President, and Chen Wei, Deputy Head of the Operations Division of COSCO SHIPPING, signed the document on behalf of the two parties.

Cosco said bp has been operating in China since the early 1970s and is one of the leading foreign-invested companies in China’s energy industry. 

“bp and Cosco Shipping have a longstanding history of cooperation, including the transportation of energy products, offshore equipment manufacturing services, and the supply of marine fuels and lubricants,” it added. 

Photo credit: Cosco Shipping
Published: 11 December, 2023

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Maersk to deploy first large methanol-powered vessel on Asia-Europe trade lane in 2024

Ship will enter service on the AE7 string connecting Asia and Europe, which includes port calls in Shanghai and Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia, with Ningbo in China, being its first destination.





Maersk to deploy first large methanol-powered vessel on Asia-Europe trade lane in 2024

A.P. Moller - Maersk (Maersk) on Thursday (7 December) said it was about to launch the first of its 18 large methanol-enabled vessels currently on order. 

On 9 February 2024, the ship will enter service on the AE7 string connecting Asia and Europe, which includes port calls in Shanghai, Tanjung Pelepas, Colombo and Hamburg, with Ningbo, China, being its first destination.

“The container vessel built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in South Korea has a nominal capacity of 16,000 containers (TEU) and is equipped with a dual-fuel engine enabling operations on methanol as well as biodiesel and conventional bunker fuel,” the firm said. 

Maersk added it has secured sufficient green methanol to cover the vessel’s maiden voyage and continues to work diligently on 2024-25 sourcing solutions for its methanol-enabled vessel fleet.

“Deploying the first of our large methanol-enabled vessels on one of the world’s largest trade lanes, Asia - Europe, is a landmark in our journey towards our Net-Zero target. With the vessel’s capacity of 16,000 containers, this will make a significant impact in our customers’ efforts to decarbonise their supply chains, and we are looking forward to introducing more methanol-enabled vessels on this and other trades during 2024,” Karsten Kildahl Chief Commercial Officer at Maersk, said. 

Ahead of its deployment, the vessel will be named at the shipyard in end January 2024. The following two sister vessels will be deployed in the first half of 2024 with naming events taking place in Yokohama, Japan, and Los Angeles, USA. Maersk said it was expected to take delivery of four additional sister vessels in the second half of 2024.

At the time of deployment of the first large vessel, it will be the only second container vessel in the world that can sail on green methanol, the first being the feeder vessel Laura Maersk which entered service in September this year.

Overview of Maersk vessels on order

  • Maersk has 24 container vessels on order
  • All vessels currently on order will be equipped with dual-fuel engines and will be able to operate on green methanol
  • 12 of the vessels on order have a capacity of 16,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit containers)
  • 6 of the vessels on order have a capacity of 17,000 TEU
  • 6 of the vessels on order have a capacity of 9,000 TEU
  • Since 2021, Maersk has had a policy of only ordering new vessels able to operate on green fuels

About Maersk’s AE7 service string

  • The AE7 string connects Asia and Europe through the Suez Canal
  • The AE7 string has the following port calls: Ningbo, Shanghai, Nansha, Yantian (all China), Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Port Tangiers (Morocco), Felixstowe (UK), Hamburg (Germany), Antwerp (Belgium), London Gateway (UK), Le Havre (France), Port Tangiers, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Jebel Ali (UAE)

Photo credit: A.P. Moller - Maersk
Published: 11 December, 2023

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ENGINE: Petrobras’ new bunker price mechanism adds to Brazil market shake-up

With a new pricing mechanism now in place since 1 November, Petrobras bunker prices can change anytime throughout the day and final prices will depend on enquiries, a source says.





Seguro, Brazil by Gabriel Martins

Since Brazilian petroleum firm and bunker supplier Petrobras shifted from posted bunker prices to indicative prices, Santos’ VLSFO discounts to Brazilian and foreign ports have narrowed.

Petrobras started issuing indicative bunker prices for Brazilian ports on 1 November, shifting from its usual pricing mechanism of posted prices. These posted prices were mostly fixed in nature, and did not tend to change despite movements in underlying crude values.  

With a new pricing mechanism now in place, Petrobras bunker prices can change anytime throughout the day and final prices will depend on enquiries, a source says. The new pricing has been reflected in Brazilian bunker price dynamics.

Santos’ VLSFO price discount to Zona Comun’s VLSFO has come down from peak levels of $50/mt in September to around $35/mt in October and November and has further slid to just $4/mt.

VLSFO prices have also changed rapidly between Brazilian ports in recent weeks. Rio Grande’s VLSFO premium over Santos momentarily shrunk from nearly $40/mt in November to just $8/mt earlier this week, but then widened back to $42/mt.

Some argue that Petrobras decided to change the pricing mechanism because of the rise in competition in the Brazilian market. In recent months, several suppliers such as Ipiranga and Bunker One have expanded their Brazilian bunker operations, offering new grades and entering new ports in Brazil. Raizen also started VLSFO supply in the port of Itaqui and São Luiz in July this year.

Another source says that competition is mostly between Brazilian ports - as opposed to with foreign ports. Ships calling in Brazil will be able to pick and choose bunker-only ports with the best offers. Meanwhile, those vessels calling in Argentina will ideally pick bunkers from Zona Comun rather than Brazilian ports, the source adds.

By Nithin Chandran

Source: ENGINE
Photo credit: Gabriel Martins on Unsplash
Published: 11 December, 2023

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