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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

17 Feb 2022

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:

16 February, 2022

  • Some ARA suppliers claim slight loading delays
  • Las Palmas HSFO380 supply to improve with replenishment
  • South Africa’s largest refinery to shut indefinitely

A few suppliers are claiming that there are still slight loading delays in the ARA hub following a cyber attacks on certain oil terminals in Antwerp and surrounding ports the beginning of this month, sources say.

But it is still unclear whether the terminal systems have fully recovered from the hacking incident, they added.

Bunker fuel availability prospects in the ARA region remains mostly unchanged from last week, while demand continues to improve. Some tightness persists for VLSFO and HSFO380 grades, with lead times marginally increasing to 4-5 days for VLSFO and 5-6 days for HSFO380. LSMGO availability is comparatively better and requires lead times of 2-3 days.

ARA’s independently held fuel oil stocks have been heavily drawn and plunged almost 10% lower in the week to last Thursday. Meanwhile, the hub’s gasoil stock regained 1%, after tumbling to eight-year lows last month, according to Insights Global data.

Bunker demand has been said to be normal in Hamburg. Recommended lead times are around 3-5 days for VLSFO and LSMGO.

Availability of HSFO380 remains tight in the Canary Islands. An HSFO380 cargo arrived in Las Palmas on 14 February and a supplier expects to be able to deliver stems from 17 February.

Swell of 1.5 meters in the northwest direction halted bunkering at Las Palmas’ outer anchorage on Tuesday. There were no major bunkering delays or vessels waiting by Tuesday afternoon, but deliveries were limited to barge at inner anchorage and ex-pipe at berth, port agency MH Bland said.

In Gibraltar, port congestion dropped to four vessels on Wednesday morning, from nine vessels queued for bunkers on Monday, says MH Bland. Suppliers continue to operate normally, and no delays have been reported. Bunker fuel availability in the Bay of Gibraltar is adequate, and lead times are still around 3-5 days across fuel grades.

Algeciras’ A, B, and C anchorages had some congestion on Wednesday morning, while anchorage D did not, says MH Bland. A supplier was still running 6-8 hours behind schedule in the port.

Availability of HSFO380 in Malta is slightly tight and requires 4-5 days ahead. Lead times are marginally shorter for LSMGO and VLSFO, which require 3-4 days ahead.

The 180,000 b/d Sapref refinery in Durban announced a spending freeze and halt to refinery operations by March this year. The closure of the refinery will necessitate more fuel oil imports to South Africa, sources say.

South African bunker ports have depended more on bunker fuel oil and gasoil produced at the Sapref refinery since 2020, when fires forced closures of Astron Energy’s Cape Town refinery and Engen’s Durban refinery.

In April last year, Engen announced it would convert its 125,000 b/d Durban refinery into an oil storage terminal following the previous year’s fire, and because of low profit prospects.

This week, Astron Energy told local news station Fin24 it remains committed to restarting its 110,000 b/d Cape Town refinery this year, pointing to a “strong commercial base” amid other refinery closures.


Photo credit: ENGINE
Published: 17 February, 2022

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