ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Prospects

• Fast product available in USGC ports, narrower west coast
• Fuel oil production in the United States increases after turnarounds
• Tight VLSFO amid prolonged Argentina rally
Suppliers in the Houston and New Orleans area can deliver VLSFO and LSMGO grades quickly, with some able to commit to next day delivery.

Availability is relatively tighter with some US West Coast providers. The first delivery date for VLSFO and LSMGO with a supplier in Los Angeles and Long Beach is approximately 9-11 days.

U.S. refiners increased utilization rates to the highest level since August of last year, producing more fuel oil as a byproduct, according to EIA data. Residual fuel oil production increased by 10% in March.

Refineries on the East Coast of the United States, and in particular on the Gulf Coast, have increased production and built up inventories. At 163,000 bpd in the week to March 25, production of fuel oil on the Gulf Coast had not been higher than since December 2019, when low-sulphur fuel oil production increased before peak demand during IMO at 0.50% sulphur. cap transition.

Gulf Coast refinery utilization was also helped by major refineries in the region which completed their overhauls in February and March. According to Wood Mackenzie, the region’s crude distillation unit capacity was estimated at an average cap of 1.23 million barrels per day in February.

With more refineries coming out of maintenance, that shutdown estimate for Gulf Coast refineries fell to 510,000 bpd for March and is expected to drop further to 431,000 bpd in April, paving the way for higher utilization and an increase in diesel and fuel. oil production.

Bunker slot providers off the Gulf Coast have been battling high winds and heavy swells, delaying bunker schedules for dates through early April. Areas affected include offshore Corpus Christi and Sabine, the Galveston Offshore Relief Area (GOLA) and the New Orleans Outer Anchorage Area (NOLA).

Winds had died down at GOLA and surrounding offshore bunker locations on Thursday. But bunker deliveries continue to be complicated due to strong swells and difficult conditions, which are expected to last until Saturday morning.

VLSFO and LSMGO are very unavailable for specific dates in GOLA, as bunker schedules have been pushed back. Two suppliers can deliver GOLA grades with a lead time of 4 to 6 days.

Fast deliveries from VLSFO and LSMGO may be possible to fit bunker schedules with only 1-2 day lead time in Balboa, while others require longer lead times as they expect resupply by mid -April.

Some suppliers have thinner stocks in Panama, amid increased competition for import shipments and higher restocking costs. According to Vortexa cargo tracking data, Panama primarily imported fuel oil from regional ports in the United States, Mexico and Ecuador, oil storage centers in Sint Eustatius and the Bahamas, and more sources. distant places like Portugal and Algeria over the past month.

VLSFO has been tight in Argentina since a national refinery in Campana underwent scheduled maintenance earlier this year.

Production was expected to normalize by the end of March, but with a resumption pushed back another week, flows are not expected to fully increase until mid-April, according to Antares Ship Agents.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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