ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook
Availability of low sulphur bunker fuels has improved in Singapore this week, with lead times for VLSFO stems dropping from nine days last week, to 5-7 days now. LSMGO is also in good supply in the bunkering hub, with 4-5 days ahead required for bookings, down by one day from last week.
Singapore’s residual fuel oil stocks added another 1% to 23.96 million bbls and remain at four-month highs, according to Enterprise Singapore data. But while fuel oil inventories have become more plentiful in the port, HSFO380 supply is still tight, with lead times stretching to 12-15 days.
Singapore’s fuel oil import levels surged 37% last week, reaching 9.31 million bbls – their highest levels since mid-January. At the same time, exports recorded a 25% weekly drop and fell to a four-week low of 1.74 million bbls.
Singapore has been bracing for the arrival of 26 vessels delayed by the Suez Canal blockage, according to supply chain tracker Project44. The vessels are not expected to boost spot bunker demand significantly as they are mostly container ships buying fuel on term contracts, sources say.
Zhoushan and Shanghai have plenty of bunker fuels for another week, with VLSFO and LSMGO stems require just three days ahead. Prompt supply of HSFO380 is tight, however. Some suppliers can deliver with one day notice, others require several more days in advance.
Lead times are also shorter in Fujairah this week, with VLSFO and LSMGO stem bookings requiring five days ahead now.
Fujairah’s bunker sales dipped slightly amid production constraints for VLSFO in March, as the UAE bunkering port supplied just under 620,000 mt in March, a 2,500 mt drop from a month earlier, according to Fujairah Oil Industry Zone (FOIZ) and S&P Global Platts data.
The UAE port’s VLSFO dropped by 13,000 mt on the month, to 477,000 mt in March and made up 77% of total sales. One of Fujairah’s two local refineries experienced significant production issues in early March, which limited VLSFO supply and pushed lead times for bunker stems to 11 days in the port. VLSFO supply improved towards the end of the month and had mostly recovered by the end start of April.
Tokyo Bay has good availability of low sulphur fuel oils, but lead times continue to stand at seven days ahead. That could be a result of bunker demand seeing an uptick in Japanese ports, as suppliers are replenishing stocks and buyers are sourcing bunker fuels ahead of the Golden Week holiday starting 29 April. HSFO380 stems continue to be tight in the Japanese port, with some suppliers sold out for April.
Bunker fuels remain tight in Russia’s Far East ports as local spring refinery maintenance work has been limiting resupply to ports. A refinery in Far East Russia is scheduled to return to operation in late May after maintenance work has been completed. The refinery produces VLSFO, LSMGO, MDO and HSFO380.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)