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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Availability is tight off Skaw; demand improves in Piraeus and Malta; VLSFO supply available for non-prompt dates in Durban.




RESIZED ENGINE Europe and Africa

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:

  • Availability is tight off Skaw
  • Demand improves in Piraeus and Malta
  • VLSFO supply available for non-prompt dates in Durban

Northwest Europe

Availability across all grades is normal in the ARA hub. Securing prompt deliveries for HSFO is difficult in the ARA, with traders advising lead times of 4-6 days for the grade. Lead times of 4-5 days are recommended for VLSFO, while LSMGO has shorter lead times of 3-5 days in the ARA.

The ARA’s independently held fuel oil stocks have averaged 5% lower so far this month than across March, according to Insights Global data.

The region has imported 237,000 b/d of fuel oil so far this month, down from 254,000 b/d in March, according to data from cargo tracker Vortexa. The ARA has imported low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) and HSFO in a 32/68 ratio so far this month, compared to 45/55 ratio last month.

Mexico has emerged as the ARA's biggest fuel oil import source so far this month, accounting for 23% of the region’s total imports. Both Lithuania and the UK are holding the second position, with each accounting for 15% of the total ARA's imports. Other import sources have been the US (9%) and France (7%).

The ARA hub’s independent gasoil inventories — which include diesel and heating oil — have increased by 3% so far this month. Gasoil stocks have risen to their highest levels since June last year.

Availability in the German port of Hamburg is normal, with prompt delivery dates available across all grades. Lead times of 3-5 days are recommended for all fuel grades.

Off Skaw, all three grades remain in tight supply for the second consecutive week. The tightness has shown no signs of abatement. Extended lead times of 10-14 days are recommended for all grades. Bad weather is forecast off Skaw on Sunday and next Monday, which could complicate bunker deliveries.


Bunker fuel availability is said to be normal in Gibraltar, but securing grades for prompt supply may still be a challenge. Most traders are recommending lead times of 4-6 days for all three grades. Wind gusts between 12-23 knots are forecast to hit Gibraltar from Thursday onwards, which could delay bunker operations until Saturday. Winds at the higher end of that range can pose problems to bunker deliveries by barge.

Slight congestion was reported in Gibraltar on Wednesday, where nine vessels were waiting to receive bunkers, unchanged from Tuesday, according to a source.

Other Mediterranean ports, such as Piraeus, Malta Offshore and Istanbul, have seen improvements in demand this week, following a patch of low demand in recent weeks, according to a trader.

Availability across all grades is good in the Greek port of Piraeus, a trader said. But rough weather is forecast in the port till Friday, which could affect bunkering in the area.

Prompt availability is good off Malta despite bad weather challenges, a trader said. Wind gusts of up to 26 knots are forecast for Thursday and are expected to intensify to 35 knots on Saturday.

The Turkish port of Istanbul has normal availability of all bunker fuel grades, a trader said. Prompt deliveries are available across all grades, but adverse weather conditions until Saturday may impact delivery schedules.


Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is good for non-prompt delivery in Durban, with a trader recommending lead times of 7-10 days for both fuel grades. VLSFO availability is also good in Richards Bay, where lead times are similar to those in Durban.

Bad weather conditions are forecast in Durban until Sunday, which could hamper deliveries.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has recently requested a second round of public feedback on the proposed amendments to bunkering rules in Algoa Bay. SARS, however, has not provided any clarity on how soon bunkering could resume.

Offshore bunkering has been suspended in Algoa Bay since last September, when SARS detained bunker barges due to import duty disputes. Since then, bunker supply has been limited to in-port deliveries by a supplier in Port Elizabeth, where supply is only available via trucks.

By Manjula Nair


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 25 April 2024

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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.





Louis Reed from Unsplash

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: 


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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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.





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.





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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