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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Tight fuel availability in Houston could ease in the next week as suppliers work through delivery backlogs.

The fog has cleared to allow more ships to pass through Houston Ship Channel. Thick sea fog closed the channel intermittently last week, leading to a build-up of over 50 ships waiting to enter the channel inbound when it reopened on Monday.

As this pent-up ship traffic has been cleared to enter the channel, docks in Houston and other ports in the area have become congested. Bunker suppliers are now working through backlogs of orders and availability of prompt delivery slots is tight in Houston.

Galveston Fairway Anchorage has had limited volumes recently as it awaits resupply. VLSFO remains tight at the New Orleans Outer Anchorage (NOLA) location.

Fuel oil production on the US Gulf Coast has been restrained after a winter storm struck the region two weeks ago, and inventories have been drawn as refineries take time to ramp up production again. Gulf Coast fuel oil stocks fell 4% to five-week lows of 17.80 million bbls on 26 February, the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows. The region’s refineries produced 23,000 b/d, or 30%, less fuel oil than in the previous week.

Fuel oil production fell by 32,000 b/d on the week across the US, to 175,000 b/d.

The production shortfall has been compensated by a 94,000 b/d rise in US imports, to 231,000 b/d. Demand for imports has increased in tandem with higher fuel oil consumption, which went up by nearly a third last week.

Several ports further south are still experiencing tight availability of bunker fuels. All fuel grades are tight in Bahamas’ Freeport, where the earliest delivery date has been pushed back to 15 March. Limited volumes have contributed to strengthen Freeport’s prices against other Caribbean ports, including St Eustatius and Jamaica’s Kingston.

VLSFO and LSMGO are in limited supply off Trinidad, where HSFO380 remains unavailable.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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