April Bunker Sales Up 7.1% On Month

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Bunker fuel sales at the UAE’s Port of Fujairah in April rose 7.1% month on month, led by gains in low sulfur fuel oil and low sulfur marine gasoil, reports Platts.

Fujairah Oil Industry Zone Data

Total sales rose to 679,338 cu m from 634,045 cu m in March, according to Fujairah Oil Industry Zone data provided exclusively on the S&P Global Platts website. It was the first rise in at least two months.

Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub, saw a 1.4% rise in April sales on the month, led by a 9.9% gain in high sulfur bunker fuel. However, the Asian port’s figures are not directly comparable since Singapore bunker sales are by weight in mt.

The overall gain in Fujairah bunker volume in April was led by a 34.7% increase in low sulfur marine gasoil sales to 25,866 cu m.

Strong Bunker Sales

Fujairah-based traders were generally caught off-guard by the strong bunker sales, saying they had seen signs of weakness. Low sulfur fuel oil 380 CST sales were expected to be closer to 500,000 cu m, while marine gasoil and marine fuel oil 380 CST were also above expectations, they said.

One Fujairah-based trader said the weak tanker market should have led to softening demand at the port, which is heavily dependent on oil tankers.

More Inquiries

“However, there were days over the course of April when barge availability was tight as flat prices had receded, leading to more inquiries for low sulfur bunkers and demand for larger stems,” the trader said.

This month, some ex-wharf suppliers were “not selling aggressively2 amid weak flat prices and a steepening contango market, preferring instead to carry over stocks into June, a Fujairah-based bunker supplier said.

The bunker supplier said the weakness in Q2 is a “seasonal trend” until Q3 when demand for cargoes in the summer months normally picks up.

Stronger Demand in Q3

Market sources are cautiously optimistic about stronger demand in Q3 on expectations of lower COVID-19 restrictions in India and Pakistan after lockdowns in those countries contributed to the oversupply of fuel oil cargoes around Fujairah.

Sales of the high sulfur marine fuel oil 380 CST accounted for 16.6% of total sales, down from 19.8% in March, the data showed.

Sales of low sulfur marine fuel, which includes the LSFO grades 180 CST and 380 CST, gained 10.8% on the month to 532,970 cu m in April. They accounted for 78.4% of total sales, up from 75.89% of the total in March.

Bunkering Data

Fujairah is the third-largest bunkering hub, and plans to add more information including trading volume and vessels data “in the coming period”, FOIZ Director Salem al-Hmoudi said March 23 when the bunkering data starting in January 2021 was first published.

Fujairah bunker sales by category

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Source: S&P Global

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