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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Pre-holiday bunker schedules are coming under pressure from high demand, and lingering weather disruptions in have delayed bunkering by days in Las Palmas and Malta.

Supply could tighten in the ARA region as buyers have increasingly been looking to book stems in the second half of December, sources say. Pre-holiday bunker schedules are starting to fill up.

Bunker supply of LSMGO and VLSFO had recently tightened amid strong bunker demand and a lack of access to light cycle oil for VLSFO blending.

The recent product tightness has shown signs of easing in recent days, however, and suppliers can now generally accommodate prompt stems. It is more dates a bit further out that are coming under pressure from high demand.

A big build in independently stored residual fuel oil in the ARA swelled inventories to their highest point in six months last week, according to data from Insights Global. The majority of fuel oil cargoes arriving in the ARA in the week came from Russia, according to cargo tracking, but also from Sweden, Bulgaria, France, Germany, the UK and Poland.

The bunkering hub’s gasoil inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, lingered around seven-year lows as demand for heating remains strong during colder temperatures in the northern hemisphere.

Gibraltar Strait ports have readily available supplies of all grades for prompt dates. HSFO380 is tight in Las Palmas and Tenerife, where relatively fewer suppliers carry the grade, while VLSFO and LSMGO grades are more available.

Bunker deliveries in Las Palmas have been pushed back by at least two days after a long period of adverse weather conditions, port agent MH Bland said on Wednesday. Outer anchorage bunkering has been suspended for days, putting pressure on the port’s more limited supply capacity at berths and in its inner anchorage, where only one vessel can be supplied at a time. High and moderate swells are forecast in Las Palmas for the coming week, too.

Meanwhile, Tenerife’s external Zona II anchorage became operational again on Wednesday after days of weather disruption. No delays are expected.

Bunkering restarted in Bunkering Area 4 off Malta’s southeast coast on Wednesday, as winds and swells were hitting the country’s islands from the west. Malta’s five other bunkering areas were still not operational, port agent MH Bland said. Weather conditions were forecast to worsen from Wednesday afternoon, with periods of gale hitting Malta from multiple directions until Sunday.

LSMGO supply has tightened across the Russian Baltic Sea ports of Ust-Luga and St. Petersburg and Black Sea ports of Novorossiysk and Tuapse, while their fuel oil grades are in ample supply and priced at Europe’s lowest levels, sources say. Ongoing maintenance at a refinery in Tuapse could curb resupply to Black Sea ports, however, as it is scheduled to last until early next year.

Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO remains steady across South African ports, sources say, while HSFO180 can be tight for prompt dates while still possible to find.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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