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JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report (September 2023)

Country sold approximately 1.67 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, with the daily sales decreasing by 4.23% to 55,610 mt from August, JLC’s data shows.

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Beijing-based commodity market information provider JLC Network Technology Co. recently shared its JLC China Bunker monthly report for September 2023 with Manifold Times through an exclusive arrangement:

Bunker Fuel Demand

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales retreat in September

China saw a drop in its bonded bunker fuel sales in September, due to tightening supply and  some policy factors.

The country sold approximately 1.67 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, with the daily sales decreasing by 4.23% to 55,610 mt from August, JLC’s data shows. The sales by Chimbusco, Sinopec Zhoushan, SinoBunker and China ChangJiang Bunker (Sinopec) were respectively 550,000 mt, 620,000 mt, 75,000 mt and 35,000 mt, while those by suppliers with regional bunkering licenses dropped to 388,300 mt.

Despite relatively stable shipping demand, China’s bonded bunker fuel sales fell back amid tightening supply. Meanwhile, the barging capacity at ports in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen became inadequate, adding to the downward pressure on the sales.

China’s bonded bunker fuel exports rally in August

China’s bonded bunker fuel exports rallied modestly in August, mainly due to a slight increase in domestic fuel oil output.

The country exported roughly 1.63 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, inching up by 0.84% month on month, JLC estimated, with reference to data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC (GACC).

Among these exports were 1.55 million mt of heavy bunker fuel and 79,600 mt of light bunker fuel, which accounted for 95.12% and 4.88% of the total, respectively.

Enterprises with national bunkering licenses exported about 1.17 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, accounting for 71.99% of the country’s total, with Sinopec Fuel Oil and Chimbusco taking 64.35%. Meanwhile, suppliers with regional licenses exported 456,600 mt, occupying 28.01%, with PetroChina Fuel Oil (Zhoushan, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen) supplying 234,600 mt, accounting for 14.39% of China’s exports and 51.38% of regional enterprises’ total.

Larger bonded bunker fuel exports were ascribed to faster fuel oil production. China’s daily fuel oil output settled at 146,839 mt in August, a boost of 3.31% month on month, according to data from the National Bureau of Statics (NBS). Meanwhile, bunkering business at Chinese ports recovered to some degree when typhoons weakened, which also lent some support to the exports.

Capping the upside, however, some refiners and traders ran short of quotas on low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) exports.

On a year-on-year comparison, China’s bonded bunker fuel exports plunged by 19.65% in August. Underlying the slump was a relatively high base in August 2022 when refiners hiked exports sharply amid new quotas.

China recorded a total of 13.66 million mt of bonded bunker fuel exports in the first eight months of this year, growing by 2.42% from the corresponding months in 2022, decelerating from a boost of 6.38% in January-July.

Heavy bunker fuel exports totaled 12.97 million mt in the eight months, making up 94.97%, while marine gas oil exports amounted to 687,400 mt, accounting for 5.03%. Enterprises with national bunkering licenses tallied about 10.97 million mt of bonded bunker fuel exports in this period, accounting for 80.32%, while those with regional licenses exported 2.69 million mt, nearly one fifth of the country’s total exports.

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Domestic-trade bunker fuel demand rises in September

Domestic-trade bunker fuel demand rose in September, amid lingering bullish sentiment and pre-holiday restocking.

Domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel demand climbed to 360,000 mt in the month, an increase of 30,000 mt or 9.09% from August, JLC’s data shows. In the meantime, domestic-trade light bunker fuel demand rose to 140,000 mt, up by 10,000 mt or 7.69% from the previous month. 

Though downstream buyers increased purchases to meet rigid demand, their acceptance of high prices was still limited.

Bunker Fuel Supply

China sees a drop in its August bonded bunker fuel imports

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports dropped in August, as import costs surged and domestic fuel oil production sped up.

The country imported approximately 306,500 mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, a cut of 8.23% from the previous month and 8.48% from a year earlier, JLC estimated, with reference to data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC (GACC).

South Korea became the largest supplier to China by exporting about 111,600 mt of bonded bunker fuel, accounting for 36.4% of the latter’s total imports. Oman ranked second with 100,600 mt, accounting for 32.8%, while Russia slipped to the third place with 91,300 mt, making up 29.8%. There were also 3,000 mt of bonded bunker fuel coming from Singapore, occupying 1.0%.

Domestic importers showed lower buying interest, as high-sulfur bunker fuel prices in Asia soared amid surging international crude and imported low-sulfur bunker fuel prices still lacked price advantages. Meanwhile, freight rates for imported cargoes stayed firm, adding to the downward pressure on the imports.

The drop in the imports was also because of larger domestic production. Chinese refiners raised their daily fuel oil output to 146,839 mt in August, an increase of 3.31% month on month, according to data from the National Bureau of Statics (NBS).

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports totaled about 2.49 million mt in January-August, diving by 20.58% from the same months in 2022, slowing down from a plunge of 22.02% in January-July.

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Chinese blenders supply more domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel in Sept

Chinese blenders supplied more domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel in September, as they raised output when refineries increased low-sulfur residual oil supply. Meanwhile, terminal buyers placed more orders for bunker fuel towards the public holiday for the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day.

Chinese blenders supplied about 390,000 mt of domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel in the month, a boost of 20,000 mt or 5.41% from August, JLC’s data shows.

On the contrary, domestic-trade marine gas oil (MGO) supply dropped to 160,000 mt, a cut of 10,000 mt or 5.88% month on month. Coking margins were squeezed by rising feedstock prices, forcing refineries to reduce their light bunker fuel supply.

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JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd is recognized as the leading information provider in China. We specialized in providing the transparent, high-value, authoritative market intelligence and professional analysis in commodity market. Our expertise covers oil, gas, coal, chemical, plastic, rubber, fertilizer and metal industry, etc.

JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report is published by JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd every month on China bunker market, demand, supply, margin, freight index, forecast and so on. The report provides full-scale & concise insight into China bunker oil market.

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be photocopied, reproduced, retransmitted, put into a computer system or otherwise redistributed without prior authorization from JLC.

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Note: China-based commodity market information provider JLC Technology has been providing Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times China bunker volume data since 2020. Data from that period is available here.

Photo credit: JLC Network Technology
Published: 13 October, 2023

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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.

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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: 

Introduction

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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Methanol

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.

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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.

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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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