Multiple Hours | ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Prospects

The following article regarding the availability of bunker fuel in the Americas region was provided by the online marine fuel procurement platform ENGINE for publication on the Singapore bunker publication Manifold Times:

July 28, 2022

  • US fuel oil inventories above average, distillate inventories below average
  • Fast VLSFO readily available in Argentina and Brazil
  • Bad weather heads for GOLA, Trinidad and Zona Comun

North America

Buyers have sought to start the process of supplying bunkers further forward in recent weeks, sources say. Both to have their ducks in line to fix rods when the market tends to drop, and to ensure fuel availability for their target dates. But availability hasn’t been tight to extremes lately, except in a few places like Panama and Trinidad.

VLSFO and LSMGO grades are generally well supplied by Houston area suppliers, while HSFO can be tighter and require about a week lead time with a single supplier.

A period of strong winds and swells between Sunday and Monday could disrupt bunkering in the Galveston Offshore Relief Area (GOLA).

The availability outlook for LSMGO and HSFO in New York varies by provider. We can deliver the grades with 3 to 5 days of delay, another in seven days, whereas we need 12 days.

Suppliers in Los Angeles, Long Beach and other US West Coast ports can accommodate fast rods. Early delivery dates for VLSFO and LSMGO with two suppliers in San Francisco vary between 4 and 6 days.

Residual fuel oil inventories in the United States rose past their position at the same time last year, and also above their five-year average. Heating oil inventories rose an average of 2% in the first three weeks of July compared to the whole of June, according to figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). A drop of 71,000 b/d in non-storage supply – implicit demand – supported inventory levels over this period.

Imports fell by 95,000 bpd in July. Mexico has been the United States’ main source of imports since April, when Russian entries were phased out with an embargo. American importers have increasingly looked to Mexico and the Middle East to replace Russian barrels. Algeria became its second source of heating oil in May and June, while the United Arab Emirates took this place in July.

A prolonged period of high refining cycles produced more fuel oil as a by-product and supported inventory build-up. US refinery utilization has averaged above 90% since the end of April. Usage increased further from mid-May, particularly on the East Coast (97-99%) and Gulf Coast (95-98%), while to a lesser extent on the West Coast (81 -90%).

According to Wood Mackenzie, the 257,000 bpd capacity Richmond refinery on the west coast is due for six-week crude oil distillation (CDU) maintenance which should have curbed oil rates. use of the region.

The country’s distillate stocks remain significantly below both their level a year ago and their five-year average. East Coast distillate stocks have regained weight after falling to record lows in late May. This has resulted in better availability in East Coast bunker ports like New York.

Caribbean and Latin America

The VLSFO can be tight in Panama, especially in Cristobal where there are considerably fewer barges delivering fuel than on the Balboa side. A supplier has no availability in Cristobal for the coming week, but can source from Balboa. A lead time of about seven days has been advised for rods of any quality at Balboa.

The supply outlook can be patchy off Trinidad as one supplier has a barge for the drydock and is unavailable. Another supplier has a barge in operation, which will head to a terminal to reload product in early August and may not be available for deliveries for the next 11-13 days.

Strong winds and swells are expected off Trinidad between Saturday and Monday, which could delay bunkering operations.

Fast availability is good in the Zona Comun and Brazilian ports. VLSFO can be delivered to Santos within three days. VLSFO and LSMGO can be delivered by a supplier in the Zona Comun with a delivery time of 3 to 4 days or less.

Zona Comun is forecasting strong winds and swells Thursday and Friday, which could halt bunker deliveries. Refueling has been suspended by bad weather at anchor twice in the past week.

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Posted: July 29, 2022

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