ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

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• Long lead times in US West Coast
• Barge loadings and deliveries disrupted by weather off the Gulf Coast
• South American eastern coast ports particularly tight

A recent news article published in the ENGINE talks about Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook.

VLSFO and LSMGO

Prompt fuel oil availability remains tight across major North American, Caribbean and South American bunker locations, especially in Argentina and Brazil.

VLSFO and LSMGO supplies are possible to source for relatively prompt dates in Houston, however, requiring around 2-4 days with three suppliers.

Thick sea fog and limited visibility shut Houston Ship Channel on and off at the beginning of the week, preventing vessel traffic in either or both directions. The key waterway to Houston and other ports in the area reopened in both directions on Wednesday to allow pent-up traffic to be cleared.

Rough weather prevented bunkering in some locations off the US Gulf Coast at the beginning of the week, including the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA) off Sabine. Conditions improved in the mid-week to allow deliveries to resume, but are forecast to deteriorate again from Friday to Saturday evening, possibly disrupting bunkering then.

US west coast

Strong winds and waves have also held back some product loading and delivery operations in Bolivar Roads, while expected improve sufficiently for loading barges on Friday.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is tight for prompt dates with several suppliers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Beach on the US West Coast. Two suppliers are unable to deliver the grades with 10-11 days of lead time in Los Angeles. One requires around two weeks of lead time.

US residual fuel oil inventories saw a moderate build of 485,000 bbls in the week to 18 February, supported by builds in the East Coast and West Coast regions, EIA figures show. At 26.48 million bbls, the country’s total fuel oil inventories are 18% lower than at the same time last year.

Prompt availability is also tight in Caribbean and Central American locations like Panama and Jamaica. A supplier’s earliest delivery date for VLSFO is 1 March in Kingston. VLSFO and LSMGO is available in Balboa for certain prompt dates, but is generally tight for dates a week out. One supplier can deliver in three days or more than a week out.

Zona comun

Severe bunkering and cargo handling delays in Brazil’s Santos has pushed back the earliest expected delivery date for VLSFO to 18 March, although these estimates can quickly change, sources say.

The earliest delivery date for VLSFO in Brazil’s Itaqui, and for three suppliers in Argentina’s Zona Comun, is now around 5 March. One supplier in Zona Comun can deliver the fuel grade in 2-4 days.

VLSFO has been dry in Uruguay’s Montevideo for months, but the port has had LSMGO available at times.

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Source: ENGINE

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