ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook
• Low sulphur availability normal on Gulf Coast, East Coast
• HSFO tight on East Coast, West Coast
• Weather threatens Zona Comun deliveries
VLSFO and LSMGO availability is said to be normal in the Houston area and New York, with prompt deliveries available.
Availability is not unusually tight in Los Angeles and Long Beach either, but longer lead times of at least 10-12 days are generally recommended to ensure timely deliveries – or around two weeks for full cover from all suppliers, a source says.
A supplier in New Orleans was unable to supply the grades with 5-6 days of lead time, a source says, but at least three other suppliers could commit to that timeline.
HSFO availability varies across the region’s major ports. Stems can be booked prompt in the Houston area where there is generally a larger number of suppliers carrying the grade than in other ports and port clusters. HSFO stems can be fixed with 1-4 days of lead time in Houston, a source says.
Prompt HSFO availability can be patchier in New York, and especially in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Panama, sources say. New York has been tight and availability can change on a case-by-case basis, a source says.
A supplier says HSFO is subject to enquiry details in Los Angeles and Long Beach. A supplier in San Francisco can deliver the grade with 10 days of lead time or less.
US residual fuel oil inventories averaged 1% higher in July than in June, supported by builds in the Gulf Coast and West Coast regions, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed this week.
Total US stock levels rose partly as less fuel oil was supplied out of storage to outlets like bunker fuel blenders and bulk terminals, or to refinery coking units for upgrades to other higher-value products or to power generation. Supply, or implied demand, fell by 8% on the month in July and to its lowest level since March.
US West Coast stocks grew despite production nearly halving from June to July. A considerable amount of the region’s production capacity came offline during maintenance works. The 257,000 b/d capacity Richmond refinery on the West Coast was slated for a six-week crude distillation (CDU) maintenance that started 15 June, according to Wood Mackenzie.
West Coast fuel oil production fell from a peak of 94,000 b/d in mid-June and bottomed out at 10,000 b/d in mid-July, before recovering to 46,000-51,000 b/d in the two final weeks of July.
Fuel oil production almost doubled on the Gulf Coast in July, recovering from a weak month in June. East Coast refineries produced fuel oil at steady levels between the months, as they have done since March.
Caribbean and Latin America
A supplier in Panama can deliver HSFO with eight days of lead time.
Prompt VLSFO and LSMGO availability can also be tight in Panama. A supplier can deliver the grades with 4-5 days of lead time in Cristobal but needs around two weeks of lead time in Balboa. Another supplier has limited availability for prompt dates while more open slots for days more than a week out.
Bunkering was suspended at the Zona Comun anchorage in Argentina on Friday amid high winds. Calmer weather is forecast later on Friday and into the weekend, before wind speeds are set to pick up again with potential bunker disruptions from Saturday evening through to Tuesday next week.
Suppliers’ earliest estimated delivery dates range between 3-4 days and five days for VLSFO and LSMGO in Zona Comun. These estimated dates might get pushed back if bunkering gets suspended for a sustained period from the weekend.
When the weather permits, VLSFO can generally be found for prompt dates in Zona Comun and in Brazilian ports like Santos, Rio Grande and Paranagua. The earliest delivery date in Paranagua is around five days out.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)