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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

US fuel oil stocks have been drawn to their lowest levels on record, supply is set to recover in Vancouver after a pipeline restart, and prompt bunker availability is generally tight across ports in the Americas.

At no point since records began in 1982 has there been less residual fuel oil stored in the US. Inventories were drawn across major regions in the week to 3 December, lowering the country’s total stock levels to 26.82 million bbls, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

Stocks have declined across regions, but the biggest recent draws have been from East Coast storage tanks, which are down to their lowest levels since regional record began in 1990.

Bunker supply is tight in several key US ports, including New York, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Francisco, and US Gulf Coast ports and offshore locations like Freeport, Houston and the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA). Various suppliers either have tight availability as a result of busy delivery schedules or a lack of volumes to supply.

Bunker schedules and supply have come under pressure in several US Gulf Coast locations. Certain suppliers in the Houston area are unable to offer VLSFO on prompt dates, others can offer with two or 5-6 days of lead time. Bunker schedules are tight in Freeport for dates about a week out.

The Texas ports of Freeport, Galveston and Port Arthur, and Louisiana’s Lake Charles, are forecast to have thick fog and reduced visibility from Tuesday next week, which could impact vessel traffic.

Availability is limited for bunker supply dates over the next two weeks in Los Angeles and Long Beach, too. A supplier’s earliest delivery date is about 13 days out.

Vancouver’s bunker suppliers are one step closer to replenishing inventories after a key oil pipeline was restarted last Sunday, three weeks it was taken offline ahead of a devastating rainstorm. Only one of the port’s two bunker suppliers were able to offer while the pipeline was down.

Supply has been particularly limited in Panama’s Balboa and Cristobal in recent weeks. These ports partly rely on fuel oil produced and exported either directly from the US Gulf Coast or via storage depots by Caribbean ports like St. Eustatius.

Few suppliers can offer for prompt dates in Balboa and Cristobal. Several suppliers need 8-9 days of lead time to accommodate stems. One supplier can still accommodate prompter stems.

VLSFO supply has also come under pressure in Brazil’s Paranagua, where the earliest delivery date is more than two weeks out. Rio Grande and Zona Comun further down the South American coast have more readily available supplies. The earliest delivery date for VLSFO and LSMGO stems with a supplier at the Zona Comun anchorage is about seven days out.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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