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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

13 Apr 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:

12 April 2023

  • HSFO supply tightens in the ARA
  • French refineries back in action after strikes
  • Availability mostly normal in Gibraltar Strait


Northwest Europe

Fixing prompt stems of HSFO, VLSFO and LSMGO can be difficult in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA hub, sources say. Recommended lead times for HSFO delivery in the region are around seven days, while LSMGO and VLSFO require around five days.

HSFO supply is tight in the ARA as both product and barge availability is under pressure there, a source says. Loading delays have been reported at oil terminals.

The ARA’s independently held fuel oil stocks have averaged 3% higher at the beginning of this month than in March, according to Insights Global data.

In the absence of Russian inflows, ARA buyers pulled large volumes of fuel oil from the Middle East and some European countries in March, going by Vortexa cargo tracking data. The UK emerged as the top source for the ARA’s fuel oil imports in March, and accounted for 13% of the region’s total.

Meanwhile, the ARA’s gasoil inventories have averaged 3% lower at the start of this month than in March. Saudi Arabia became the ARA’s top gasoil import source in March and accounted for 31% of its total.

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. HSFO delivery remains subject to enquiries, the source adds.

In Germany’s Hamburg, VLSFO and LSMGO supply is said to be normal, requiring lead times of around 5-6 days, a source says.

TotalEnergies’ Gonfreville refinery in northern France started resuming operations on Tuesday as strike action by workers waned, according to a Reuters report. This is the last of TotalEnergies’ four domestic refineries to resume production after a month-long strike.

Workers across sectors in France protested the government’s plans to reform the country’s retirement system, which included raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.



Bunker fuels availability has improved across most ports in France, while it is still tight in Lavera and Marseille-Fos, a source says.

Fuel availability is said to be normal in Gibraltar, Ceuta and off Malta, sources say. One supplier in Gibraltar can offer deliveries of all fuel grades with lead times of around 4-5 days, a source says.

Supply of LSMGO is said to be normal in Algeciras, but securing prompt supply of VLSFO can be difficult there, a source says.

Bunker operations are running normally in most Gibraltar Strait ports, according to port agent MH Bland. Bunker deliveries were disrupted in Gibraltar, Algeciras and Ceuta last week due to rough weather.

No congestion was reported in Gibraltar, Ceuta and off Malta on Wednesday. 12 vessels were scheduled to arrive for bunkers in and off Malta on Wednesday, Seatrans Shipping agency says.

Bunkering was in progress in Las Palmas on Wednesday morning. But high swells are forecast to hit the port in periods from later on Wednesday through to Saturday, which could complicate deliveries at its outer anchorage, MH Bland says.



Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in Durban and Algoa Bay. But securing prompt deliveries can be difficult and stems require lead times of up to seven days, a source says.

Bunkering resumed in Algoa Bay on Wednesday morning after being suspended for a day due to adverse weather, according to Rennies Ships Agency. Weather conditions are forecast to remain conducive until Thursday evening. However, strong winds and swells are forecast to hit the bay in periods between Friday and Saturday, which could hamper bunker operations. Nine vessels are due to arrive for bunkers in Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay over the course of the rest of the week, Rennies says.

Bunkering is going ahead as usual in Mozambique’s ports of Nacala and Maputo. Prompt supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in both locations, a source says.

By Shilpa Sharma


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 13 April, 2023

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