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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Thursday, 22 September 2022 | 00:00

• Bunkering suspended in Gibraltar
• ARA fuel oil, gasoil inventories add weight
• Bunker supply normal in Algoa Bay and Durban

Northwest Europe
LSMGO is readily available in the ARA hub with several suppliers now offering prompt deliveries, sources say. The recommended lead time for LSMGO delivery in Rotterdam and other ports in the ARA is around three days.
Securing VLSFO and HSFO stems for prompt dates can be difficult, especially for HSFO. Some suppliers are running low on fuel oil in storage and await resupply, sources say. Recommended lead times for VLSFO and HSFO deliveries in the ARA region are around 5-7 days.
Independently held fuel oil inventories in the ARA added some weight last week. The stocks increased by 30,000 bbls to 7.16 million bbls in the week to 15 September, according to Global Insights.
According to cargo tracker Vortexa, 260,000 b/d of fuel oil was imported in the region in the first fortnight of this month, up from 162,000 b/d in August.
Russian fuel oil imports accounted for about a quarter of ARA’s fuel oil imports in July, but nothing was imported throughout August or so far this month.
Signs of higher non-Russian inflows could have contributed the increase in fuel oil stocks. Vortexa has picked up fuel oil cargoes flowing into the ARA from the UK, Greece, Germany, Saudi Arabia and other sources.

The region’s gasoil stocks increased by 150,000 bbls, to 12.44 million bbls last week.
Some suppliers can offer limited quantities of VLSFO and HSFO off Skaw, but prompt availability is tight. Recommended lead times for the two grades are around seven days, a source says.

Bunker operations have been halted in Gibraltar since Tuesday as local authorities are working to clear debris and an oil sheen formed by residual fuel oil from the recently damaged OS 35 bulk carrier.
Some quantities of unpumpable VLSFO and residues from the dirty fuel tanks of OS 35 have escaped booms, Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA) says.
On 30 August, the OS 35 collided with LNG carrier Adam LNG while it was trying to navigate out of the Bay of Gibraltar. Bunker operations were halted in Gibraltar after the incident and resumed on 9 September.
With bunkering suspended in Gibraltar, bunker calls are expected to rise in nearby ports such as Algeciras, Ceuta, Las Palmas and Malta.
Congestion has built up at inner and outer anchorages in Algeciras, while bunkering is progressing normally in other nearby ports, port agent MH Bland says.

No congestion has been reported in Ceuta, while one supplier experienced 4-6 hours of delay on Wednesday, MH Bland says.
Nine vessels were due to arrive bunkers in Malta on Wednesday, up from eight on Tuesday, according to Seatrans Shipping agency.
Bunker supply is said to be normal in Gibraltar Strait ports as of now, but LSMGO availability is slightly tight in Algeciras, a source says. Some suppliers can offer VLSFO and LSMGO in Las Palmas for prompt dates.
Availability across all fuel grades is said to be good in Gibraltar, but bunker delivery timings will depend on when the port reopens for bunkering, sources say.
VLSFO supply is tight for prompt delivery in Spain’s Valencia, while LSMGO availability is normal, a source says. Some suppliers can offer limited quantities of VLSFO and LSMGO in Barcelona.

Bunker operations resumed at anchorages in Algoa Bay on Tuesday after being suspended on Monday due to bad weather, Rennies Ships Agency says.
Conducive weather conditions have helped suppliers to clear the bunker backlogs in Algoa Bay. 24 vessels are scheduled to arrive for bunkers in the bay between Wednesday and Sunday, shipping agent Sturrock Grindrod says.
Meanwhile, vessels over 90,000 gross registered tonnes (GRT) will no longer be required to hire tugboats while bunkering in Algoa Bay. The tugboat requirement has initially been lifted for a three-month trial period. This will ease bunker restrictions for large vessels and expedite operations in Algoa Bay, a source says.

Bunker supply is said to be normal in Algoa Bay and Durban, with some suppliers offering prompt deliveries of VLSFO and LSMGO. Recommended lead times for the two grades in Durban are around seven days.
Source: ENGINE, By Shilpa Sharma (https://engine.online/)

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