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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

A bunker barge has returned to expand bunker options along US Gulf Coast, and a resupply date has been set for a tight Vancouver market.

US fuel oil demand has been strong so far in June. The US supplied 39% more fuel oil on a weekly average in the two first weeks of June compared to May. And as domestic refinery production of fuel oil has held steady, the demand increase has been covered by 63% higher imports.

While most residual fuel oil is sold as bunker fuels in the US, some goes to power generation, and to feed coking units at complex US refineries that can upgrade residual fuel to higher-value road fuels now during the peak summer driving season.

Gulf Coast inventories have been drawn in June, partly as a result of a 70% fuel oil production drop in the region. While stockpiles are lower, Gulf Coast ports such as Houston have ample availability of bunker fuel oils. Supply of all fuel grades remains tight at certain offshore bunker locations like the Galveston Fairway Anchorage (GOLA), however.

A bunker barge has returned to operation to expand supply options along the US Gulf Coast. The barge had been drydocked for several months. It now offers LSMGO in locations between Freeport and the Sabine Lightering Area.

HSFO380 has been tight in Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Francisco. Fuel oil inventories were drawn down on the US West Coast through March and April, but have started to grow again this month on the back of a 43% weekly average production increase from May.
HSFO380, VLSFO and LSMGO are all in limited supply in Canada’s Vancouver. Supply has been tight for a couple of weeks, and no replenishment date was given until this week. The earliest expected delivery date has now been set to 23 June.

Bunker demand reached pre-pandemic levels in Panama in May. A 14% month-on-month rise in sales from April spurred suppliers in Balboa to add three bunker barges to operation. Cristobal, on the other hand, saw demand come off some. One barge was removed from operation in Cristobal last month.

LSMGO has tightened in Argentinian ports, which has pushed Zona Comun’s price for the grade to a wider premium over its VLSFO.
Suppliers in Ecuadorian ports, including La Libertad and Guayaquil, continue to have limited VLSFO and LSMGO to offer. Certain suppliers do not expect to have low sulphur fuels to offer for the rest of the month, but can offer HSFO380.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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