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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

VLSFO and LSMGO remain in good supply in ARA and Gibraltar Strait ports, while HSFO380 has tightened slightly in ARA this week.
Lead times for HSFO380 are around a day longer in ARA than last week, with 4-5 days ahead recommended for bookings now. The grade continues to be tight in the Canary Islands, where six days ahead required. A supplier awaits resupply in the Canary Islands and spot delivery capacity remains limited. Gibraltar Strait ports require around 4-5 days of lead time.

Independent fuel oil stocks are down 16% on the week in the Amsterdam-Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) hub, coming down from record highs last week.

The stocks swelled to 11.37 million bbls last week – their highest level since at least 2005, Insights Global data showed. This week, they dropped down to 9.56 million bbls, a two-month low.

ARA is a transit hub for fuel oil cargoes, and the stocks fell as more cargoes were pulled out of the hub.

Several European ports are set to receive vessels delayed by the Suez Canal blockage at the end of last month. Rotterdam expects 15 vessels, Hamburg three vessels, and Antwerp, Felixstowe and Southampton two vessels each, according to supply-chain tracker Project44. The arrival of the vessels could congest ports and put pressure on certain suppliers’ delivery logistics.

There were minor bunker delays in Gibraltar on Wednesday morning, with two vessels waiting because of a lack of space in the port and some suppliers delayed by 1-5 hours, port agency MH Bland says. Bunkering has been pushed into inner anchorage in Algeciras amid high swell, and two suppliers are delayed by 6-8 hours.

The weather forecast looks calm for Gibraltar Strait and Canary Islands ports until early next week, while gale-strength wind could disrupt offshore bunkering in Malta from Friday.

Fuel availability remains good in Mediterranean ports further east, including Sarroch, Malta, Piraeus and Istanbul. Demand has been muted this week, sources say.

Availability is also steady in South African ports, where VLSFO and LSMGO stems continue to be more readily available than HSFO180. South African suppliers have increasingly imported fuel oil and gasoil to cater for bunker demand while two of the country’s refineries remain offline after a fire and an explosion last year. Only one domestic refinery produces high sulphur fuel, which has kept supply tight.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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