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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

There is generally good availability of prompt bunker products across major US ports, while some suppliers have tight barge schedules for prompt dates in Argentina this week.

Some suppliers have had tight barge schedules in New Orleans and at the New Orleans Outer Anchorage (NOLA), but have been able to use other suppliers’ barge to make deliveries. This is a common practice in both NOLA and Houston area, where certain suppliers have a large number of barges to lend to other suppliers, usually for a spot rate.

US Gulf Coast refineries almost tripled their fuel oil production last week and seem to have recovered from the disruptions caused by the winter storm and power outages last month.

Several refineries along the US Gulf Coast were ground to a halt when an unusual winter storm hit the region and caused rolling blackouts. The refineries have gradually ramped up production in March, but output of fuel oil and other refinery products was still some way off a full recovery, until last week.

The refineries produced 98,000 b/d of fuel oil in the week to 19 March, the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows. That was more than in any week since June last year.

But Gulf Coast fuel oil inventories continued to be drawn despite the production boost in the region. Stock levels have now dipped below their average for 2020.

Gulf Coast inventories fell 1% to 17.21 million bbls on the Gulf Coast, which was similar in volume to the 1% draw of total US fuel oil stocks to 31.29 million bbls. A sharp decline in imports and higher fuel oil supply contributed to the stockdraw across the US.

Corpus Christi has tight availability of prompt VLSFO and LSMGO stems, while other large US bunker ports such as New York and Los Angeles have readily available supplies. So do Panama’s Balboa and Cristobal, and several other Caribbean ports, including St. Eustatius, Kingston and Trinidadian ports. Prompt stems continue to be tight in Bahamas’ Freeport, however.

Tighter availability of VLSFO and LSMGO for prompt dates with several suppliers in Argentina’s Zona Comun anchorage pushed its VLSFO price to considerable premiums over regional bunker locations.

Several suppliers have can only deliver in Zona Comun from 28-29 March onwards. Uruguay’s Montevideo is also tight, with 30 March as the earliest delivery date.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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