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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

VLSFO supply is set to improve in Scandinavia and Portugal, and rough weather in the Mediterranean and Algoa Bay could cause new backlogs this weekend.

All fuel grades are now readily available for prompt delivery in Europe’s main bunkering hubs. Suppliers can typically deliver with 2-3 days of lead time in the ARA, Gibraltar Strait and Canary Islands. Slightly longer lead times may be required for HSFO380 stems in the Canary Islands, however.

Prompt supply of VLSFO has been tight in the Scandinavian bunker locations. Resupply is expected to improve availability towards the end of the month. Gale-force winds and waves pushing 4 metres off Skaw on Friday and Saturday morning could push deliveries into the often more sheltered Gothenburg Roads or into port in Skagen or Gothenburg – for suppliers that have those options.

Bunker fuel availability is expected to improve in Portugal with two fuel oil cargoes arriving to replenish stocks towards the end of the week, sources say. About 60,000 mt of high- and low sulphur fuel oil will arrive in the port of Sines from two Russian Baltic Sea and Black Sea ports on Friday, according to cargo and vessel tracking.

Fuel suppliers have been running low across Portuguese ports after the country’s only remaining refinery – Sines – was forced offline last month. Sines is a key VLSFO-producing refinery on the Iberian Peninsula, and the outage capped resupply to several bunker suppliers in the region towards the end of the month.

Suppliers in the Gibraltar Strait have replenished stocks from alternative sources while Sines has been down for repairs. The refinery is expected to remain offline until later in the year.

Bunker availability looks tight off Malta until the beginning of next month, but more as a result of busy barging schedules and bad weather in sight than a lack of resupply. Gale-force winds and tall waves could trigger bunker suspensions off Malta between Saturday and next Tuesday.

Malta’s suppliers mostly quote delivery dates in early December as their earliest. HSFO380 remains tight for prompt dates with fewer suppliers offering it in general. Several imported high- and low sulphur fuel oil cargoes are set to replenish inventories in the port of Valletta and via ship-to-ship offshore in the next week.

Gibraltar Strait ports face strong winds on Saturday. Rising swells in Las Palmas from Friday and into next week could disrupt outer anchorage bunkering in the port.

Weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate at the Algoa Bay anchorage from Thursday evening, with gale-force winds and waves of more than 4 metres threating more bunker suspensions until Saturday morning. Two vessels were anchored awaiting bunkers in Algoa Bay on Wednesday, after rough weather suspended bunkering intermittently since last Sunday and created a backlog, port agent Sturrock Grindrod said.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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