The following article regarding Europe and Africa bunker fuel availability has been provided by online marine fuel procurement platform ENGINE for publication on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:
17 November, 2021
VLSFO is tight amid a refinery turnaround in Scandinavia, while availability has improved with alternative resupply sources in the Gibraltar Strait.
The ARA region continues to have steady supply of all bunker grades for prompt dates.
The bunkering hub’s independent residual fuel oil inventories grew by 5% last week after big draws in previous weeks, according to Insights Global data. Incoming cargoes from Russia and other northern European countries helped recover some stocks, but they were still 4 million bbls lower than their peak in April this year.
Maintenance work at a Swedish refinery is curbing VLSFO replenishment to bunker locations off Skaw and in the port of Gothenburg. Tightening VLSFO supplies have pushed Skaw and Gothenburg’s prices to premiums over Hamburg and ARA ports this week. While incoming fuel oil cargoes have provided some temporary relief in recent days, VLSFO availability is expected to stay tight through the month, sources say.
Availability has improved in the Gibraltar Strait with incoming fuel oil cargoes. In the absence of fuel oil coming from a key Portuguese VLSFO-producing refinery that is offline for repairs, bunker suppliers in the Strait have had to look elsewhere to replenish stocks. Portugal is usually the second biggest exporter to the Gibraltar market, after Spain.
Bunker suppliers in Gibraltar and Algeciras have sourced fuel oil from Spain, UK, Italy, France and Sweden this month, cargo tracking shows. More cargoes are expected to arrive from Russia, France, Italy, Denmark and the US towards the end of the month.
Lead times for VLSFO, LSMGO and HSFO380 have come down to 3-4 days in Gibraltar at the most, sources say. Certain suppliers required up to nine days last week, when supplies were tighter.
Rough weather could pose more of a problem to bunkering in the Strait than a lack of volumes this week. Gibraltar Strait ports braced for strong eastern winds and heavy swells from Wednesday afternoon and into the weekend. Bunker deliveries in the Bay of Gibraltar, including Algeciras’ Delta anchorage, could be affected, port agent MH Bland says.
VLSFO is tight for prompt dates off Malta, which has had several bouts of rough weather and bunker delays in recent days. One supplier can deliver in four days, while several others need around a week of lead time.
Malta has imported HSFO from Italy and Greece for onshore storage this month. High and low sulphur fuel oil cargoes are expected from Algeria, Turkey and Russia to replenish offshore storage.
Availability of all bunker grades has improved in Durban and other South African ports. VLSFO has arrived in Durban from West Africa and the ARA in the past week. VLSFO is set to arrive in Cape Town from Brazil later this month, and Port Elizabeth will receive HSFO180 from the ARA.
Photo credit: ENGINE
Published: 18 November, 2021
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