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JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (January 2023)

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales dropped further in January, as shipping demand stayed relatively soft and shipowners remained cautious when global economy was still slow to recover.

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

Bunker Fuel Demand

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales drop further in Jan

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales dropped further in January, as shipping demand stayed relatively soft and shipowners remained cautious when the global economy was still slow to recover. Meanwhile, some bunkering business at Chinese ports was halted during the Chinese New Year holiday, and the supply of bonded resources continued to tighten in northern regions.

The country tallied about 1.49 million mt of bonded bunker fuel sales in the month, a fall of 2.35% month on month, JLC’s data shows. The sales by Chimbusco rose to 560,000 mt, while those by China ChangJiang Bunker (Sinopec) and Sinopec Zhoushan dropped to 35,000 mt and 580,000 mt respectively. Meanwhile, SinoBunker sold 50,000 mt, stable month on month, and suppliers with regional licenses sold about 269,000 mt, down from 300,000 mt in December 2022.

China exported 1.20 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the last month of 2022, a decline of 7.21% month on month and 13.42% year on year, with reference to data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC (GACC).

Among these, heavy bunker fuel exports were 1.13 million mt, accounting for 94.19%, while MGO exports were 69,800 mt, making up 5.81%.

The exports by suppliers with national licenses were 910,300 mt, accounting for 75.78% of the total exports, with Sinopec Fuel Oil, Chimbusco, SinoBunker and China ChangJiang Bunker (Sinopec) taking 404,000 mt, 444,900 mt, 49,800 mt and 11,600 mt respectively. At the same time, companies with regional licenses exported about 291,000 mt, making up 24.22%.

Chinese refiners cut their bonded bunker fuel exports, as demand in the shipping market remained weak when the negative impact of the epidemic lingered. Meanwhile, most refineries cut their LSFO production when they found fewer margins amid a fall in China’s bonded bunker fuel prices.

Given an outlook of recovering demand, China is expected to expand its bonded bunker fuel exports in 2023. Also, the country is likely to hike its LSFO production this year, making efforts to expand its bonded bunker fuel market.

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Domestic bunker fuel demand continues to shrink in Jan

Domestic-trade bunker fuel demand continued to shrink in the first month of this year, mainly because of the public holiday for the Chinese New Year. The shipping capacity was not fully back online yet in late January, after the holiday.

Domestic demand for heavy bunker fuel shrank by 30,000 mt or 8.82% to 310,000 mt in January, and that for light bunker fuel decreased by 10,000 mt or 8.30% to 110,000 mt. Purchases for MGO were still based on rigid demand.

Meanwhile, domestic blenders kept their inventories low.

Bunker Fuel Supply

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports plunge in Dec 2022

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports plunged on month in December 2022, due to a decrease in Chinese buyers’ import interest coupled with a relatively high base in the previous month.

China tallied 414,300 mt of bonded bunker fuel imports in the month, tumbling by 34.24% month on month, JLC estimated, with reference to data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC 

(GACC).

Malaysia still led all suppliers in December, exporting 288,400 mt of bonded bunker fuel to China, accounting for 70% of China’s total imports. Meanwhile, South Korea and Singapore ranked second and third with 80,690 mt and 39,000 mt, occupying 21% and 9% respectively.

Domestic buyers sharply reduced their bonded bunker fuel imports, amid relatively steep international bunker fuel prices and high freight rates. Prices of China’s bonded bunker fuel with the maximum sulfur content at 0.5% averaged $605/mt in the month, a drop of 11.68% from a month earlier, more significant than a fall of 9.20% in Singapore’s prices. Domestic bunker fuel prices were still relatively competitive than imported ones.

Also underlying the plunge in the imports was a relatively high level in November. Chinese buyers had hiked their bonded bunker fuel imports to a 12-month high in November, and they lacked enthusiasm to further expand imports in December, with the year-end drawing near.

On a year-on-year comparison, however, the imports gained 2.02% in December.

The country imported an accumulation of 5.11 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in 2022, plummeting by 38.88% year on year, accelerating from a slump of 30.91% in 2021. The plunge was mainly due to booming domestic LSFO production. China produced about 15.90 million mt of LSFO last year, soaring 41.90% year on year, JLC’s data indicates.

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Domestic-trade blended bunker fuel supply extends drops in Jan

Domestic supply of blended heavy bunker fuel extended drops in January, as blendstock supply tightened and cargo transportation was not so smooth amid the Chinese New Year holiday. Chinese blenders supplied about 320,000 mt of heavy bunker fuel in the month, a contraction of 50,000 mt or 13.51% month on month, JLC’s data shows.

The supply of blended marine gas oil (MGO) showed a similar trend. Less diesel flowed into the bunker fuel market, because domestic bunker fuel demand was relatively soft. Blenders supplied about 140,000 mt of MGO in the month, diving by 30,000 mt or 17.65% from a month earlier.

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Bunker Prices, Profits

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Editor
Yvette Luo
+86-020-38834382
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Sales (Beijing)
Tony Tang
+86-10-84428863
[email protected] 

Sales (Singapore)
Ginny Teo
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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.

Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (December 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (November 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (October 2022)
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Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (February 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (January 2022)

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: 14 February, 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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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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