ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook
Singapore’s bunker demand has fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels, helped by more scrubber-fitted vessels boosting HSFO demand, preliminary data from Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority showed this week. Singapore supplied 5% more bunker fuels in January than in December.
HSFO sales increased by another 111,000 mt from December to January to reach 1.13 million mt – the highest volume supplied since December 2019. While demand is growing, only a limited number of bunker suppliers still offer the grade, and the port’s HSFO380 bunker delivery capacity remains under pressure. Lead times for HSFO380 stems are unchanged on the week at 12-15 days.
Singapore’s VLSFO sales were up by 60,000 mt in January, to 2.99 mt – the highest since March 2020. Prompt availability of VLSFO tightened last week in Singapore as buyers booked deliveries ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. Last week’s demand peak was temporary, and lead times have since dropped by two days, to 8-10 days now.
There is more fuel oil in storage in Singapore now than at the end of last year, when suppliers were de-stocking. But stock levels remain below the five-year average, according to Enterprise Singapore data.
Singapore’s middle distillate stocks continue to be sharply above the five-year average, which has been reflected in consistently shorter lead times needed for LSMGO stems than for HSFO380 and VLSFO. LSMGO deliveries now need 4-6 days of lead time.
Fujairah’s low sulphur bunker market has tightened this week, with lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO up by one day to seven days now. HSFO380, on the other hand, has become slightly more available with lead times down by one day, to 10 days.
Zhoushan’s lead times for all bunker fuel grades have come down by two days in the past week, to four days now. Certain suppliers can deliver on shorter notice. Bunker stems are also readily available in the nearby port of Shanghai.
Similarly, Busan’s lead times are shorter by two days to three days this week. Supply tightened in Busan last week as buyers booked stems ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. South Korea’s western ports need five days to deliver stems.
Fuel availability has been tight for all grades in Far East Russia since late December as persistently rough weather has pushing back delivery dates. Far East Russian ports are facing heavy storms this week, with wind gusts to reach more than 30 knots. The rough weather is expected to last until 22-23 February and several ports are expected to be congested with vessels.
VLSFO and LSMGO supply is also tight in Japan, with lead times in Tokyo one day longer now than last week, with 7-8 days ahead needed. Japan’s low sulphur fuel oil stocks fell to a six-week low last week, data from Petroleum Association of Japan showed.
HSFO380 stems continue to be tight in Japanese port, but because of tight barge schedules rather than insufficient supply volumes.
Japanese HSFO inventories grew again last week to reach four-week highs. The stocks were boosted by a 25% HSFO production increase on the week.
Several Japanese refineries were knocked out and remain offline after an earthquake struck the country last Sunday. The refineries have not yet given a date for when they will resume production, and prolonged closures could squeeze supply of oil products.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)