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ENGINE: Global Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

24 Dec 2021

The following update regarding global bunker fuel availability has been provided by online marine fuels procurement platform ENGINE for publication on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

24 December, 2021

  • VLSFO tighter in Singapore
  • HSFO380 tighter in Fujairah
  • ARA gasoil stocks recover from seven-year lows, LSMGO still tight
  • Gibraltar Strait suppliers almost clear backlogs
  • All grades tighter across major US ports

Singapore and Fujairah

VLSFO availability remains especially tight in Singapore owing to higher bunker demand leading up to Christmas and New Year holidays and limited cargo inflows.

Recommended lead time for VLSFO in Singapore remain 12-14 days out, while LSMGO lead times are at 5-7 days. HSFO380 availability at the port remains tight with suggested lead times of 10-12 days.

Singapore’s fuel oil stocks were steady on the week, keeping below their five-year average for the year, according to Enterprise Singapore figures. The city state’s net fuel oil imports have declined by 21% on a weekly average so far in December compared to November, and were down 7% in the most recent week.

HSFO380 has tightened in in Fujairah, pushing recommended lead times to two weeks out now. Availability may have been affected by more limited access to blend stocks and lower fuel oil production capping available cargo volumes, a source says, adding that the tightness might not ease until January.

Fujairah’s HSFO380 price flipped to a narrow premium over Singapore on Monday, and has since widened that premium.

Fujairah’s lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO grades are shorter at eight days.


Suppliers have been working through bunker backlogs in Gibraltar Strait ports this week, following several days of weather suspensions that lasted into last weekend.

Gibraltar’s bunker congestion keeps easing. The number of vessels lined up to bunker came down to seven on Thursday, from 12 yesterday and a peak of 34 on Monday, port agent MH Bland said. The remaining vessels are mostly waiting to bunker with one supplier that was 18-20 hours delayed after weather suspensions towards the end of last week.

Suppliers in Algeciras and Ceuta had all but cleared their bunker backlogs by Thursday. Only slight delays remained.

Intermittent periods of strong winds and swells forecast for Saturday and Monday could disrupt bunkering again in the Gibraltar Strait.

Suppliers in ARA and Gibraltar Strait ports typically need 2-3 days of lead time to accommodate stems of all grades. Longer lead times should be considered now as upcoming holidays have prompted buyers to secure stems a bit earlier.

LSMGO is tight for days a week out with certain suppliers in the ARA. This follows a drawdown of the region’s independent gasoil stocks since September. Gasoil stocks slumped to their lowest level since 2014 last week, before regaining 2% of volume this week, Insights Global data showed.

ARA’s fuel oil stocks also recovered from a five-year low by gaining 5% in the past week.


VLSFO availability is tight for prompt dates in the Houston area. HSFO380 and LSMGO grades are also tight for dates further ahead. Bunkering schedules have been filling up for locations across the US Gulf Coast and offshore.

Gulf Coast refineries have only produced about half as much fuel oil on a daily average this month as in November. That has contributed to draw the region’s stocks down to five-week lows, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

East Coast refiners have gradually produced less and less fuel oil in December and inventories have slumped to their lowest point since regional records began in 1990. West Coast production has been reduced in each month since a high in July. The region’s inventories hit one-year lows at the beginning of December, but have since regained some weight.

Fuel oil grades are also tight in major East Coast and West Coast ports. HSFO380 is particularly tight in New York, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Francisco.

US fuel oil inventories fell to fresh all-time lows in the most recent week. A sharp drop in fuel oil production on the Gulf Coast in December has only been partly compensated for with higher imports and contributed to draw down inventories.


Photo credit: ENGINE
Published: 24 December, 2021

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