Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook


Bunker fuel oil volumes remain in tight supply across key North American and South American bunker locations. Buyers are aware of the tightness and have been booking with longer lead times to ensure timely supply, says an article published in ENGINE.

VLSFO, HSFO380 supply

Stem dates in late February and early March are increasingly targeted.

Tight VLSFO, and especially HSFO380, supply has led Balboa and Cristobal’s price to surge to wide premiums over Houston.

Prompt availability is also under pressure in New York, and in Houston and other onshore and offshore US Gulf Coast locations. Busy barging schedules have combined with low access to resupply volumes to tighten HSFO380 and VLSFO supply. The earliest delivery date for a supplier in the Houston area is a week out.

Bunker schedules

Bunker schedules have been filling up fast for deliveries in offshore US Gulf Coast locations like the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA). Several suppliers’ earliest delivery dates range between 6-11 days out, while certain others can deliver more promptly.

Some respite could come from more fuel oil in the domestic US market, which could also free up barrels for export. After US fuel oil inventories were drawn down to historical lows in the last week of January, they recovered to 10-week highs in the first week of February as less was supplied out to bulk terminals, blenders and further refining.

US imports

A 75% increase in US imports on the week also helped to retain more fuel oil in stock, while refinery production of fuel oil held steady on the week, at 11-week highs.

VLSFO in Brazilian ports

VLSFO remains tight in Brazilian ports, and not available in Montevideo. The earliest delivery dates in Santos and Paranagua are about 8-12 days out and only specific quantity ranges are accepted.

Prompt VLSFO volumes can be tricky to source also in Zona Comun. A supplier’s earliest delivery date there is 7-8 days ahead.

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Source: ENGINE