ENGINE: Bunker fuel availability outlook in Europe and Africa


north west europe
Rapid supply of LSMGO and VLSFO is said to be normal at Rotterdam and other ports in the ARA hub, the sources say. Recommended lead times for the two grades in Rotterdam are 3-4 days, while HSFO requires longer lead times of 5-7 days, according to one source.
Meanwhile, independently owned diesel and fuel oil inventories at ARA fell last week, according to data from Insights Global. The region’s fuel oil stocks fell by 460,000 bbl to 6.65 million bbl in the week to October 13 and remained below their five-year average position.
Russia has regained its position as the top exporter of fuel oil to ARA, according to Vortexa cargo tracking data. Most of the region’s fuel oil imports have come from Russia so far in October, with some amounts coming from other countries, including Estonia, Colombia, France, Bulgaria and Poland.
This came as a surprise as there were no volumes of Russian fuel oil imported into the ARA in July, August and September, Vortexa data shows. EU countries agreed to phase out imports of Russian crude oil and petroleum products by the embargo deadlines in December and February, respectively. This means that there is still room for fuel oil and gas oil inflows until February.
The region’s diesel stockpiles fell significantly by 1.43 million bbl to 12.38 million bbl last week. And the stock continues to be well below its five-year average position.

VLSFO and LSMGO supply is normal in Skaw, a source says. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO deliveries are around seven days. HSFO requires a longer delivery time of around 10 days.
Bunker supply is said to be tight in France’s key ports, including Dunkirk and Le Havre, as the nationwide strike over disputes over wage increases has hit the supply chain. Workers at ExxonMobil’s two French refineries ended their strike late last week, while workers at TotalEnergies’ three refineries continue to strike.
Workers at ExxonMobil’s 140,000 b/d Fos and 240,000 b/d Port Jerome refineries are gradually returning to work after a strike that lasted more than three weeks. These refineries could take 2-3 weeks to fully restart operations, a company spokesman told Reuters.

Ensuring fast delivery of VLSFOs can be a bit difficult in Gibraltar, says one source. A supplier in the Strait of Gibraltar expects to have low stocks of VLSFO until around October 24.
Gibraltar’s VLSFO price is at a slight discount to Las Palmas, while at premiums to other regional ports including Algeciras, Malta and Ceuta. Rapid supply of LSMGO is said to be normal in Gibraltar, while HSFO remains subject to consultation.
VLSFO and LSMGO availability is said to be normal in Algeciras, Malta, Ceuta and Las Palmas, the sources say.
Bad weather conditions have raised concerns about bunker deliveries going smoothly in Las Palmas. Tides of 1.5 meters hit Las Palmas on Wednesday. Strong swells are forecast for Thursday and Friday, which could disrupt deliveries at the port’s exposed anchorages.
Minimal congestion has been reported in Gibraltar and Algeciras this week, according to port agent MH Bland. Bunker operations are running normally in Ceuta. Eight ships were due to arrive for fuel on Wednesday, said shipping agent José Salama & Cía.
All bunkering areas are open for supply in Malta. 10 were due to arrive for bunkers in and out of Malta on Wednesday, compared to seven on Tuesday, according to the Seatrans Shipping agency.
Fast supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be in short supply in the Spanish port of Huelva, according to a source.

No bunker delays were reported at Algoa Bay on Wednesday, according to shipping agent Sturrock Grindrod. Hurricane-force winds of up to 38 knots are forecast to hit the region on Thursday, which could disrupt bunker deliveries without issue. Eight vessels are scheduled to arrive for bunkers in Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay this week, says Sturrock Grindrod.
Bunker supply is said to be normal in Algoa Bay. VLSFO is still priced considerably lower than in nearby Durban.
In Durban, the availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal. The recommended delivery times for both grades are about seven days.
Dock and rail workers at the South African logistics company Transnet ended a strike this week. Transnet reached a three-year salary agreement with one of the two unions that represent the majority of its workers. A resolution to the strikes is expected to ease cargo congestion at Durban and other South African ports, and allow the country’s exports to pick up again.
Source: By Shilpa Sharma, ENGINE (https://engine.online/)


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