HSFO Demand Lifts Singapore’s 2021 Bunker Fuel Sales

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Singapore’s bunker fuel sales in 2021 rose by 0.3pc on the year to 49.99mn t in response to strong high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) demand and record container throughput, according to the city-state’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), says an article published in Argus Media.

HSFO prices

This is the second-highest total on record after the port of Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub, achieved sales of 50.64mn t in 2017.

Sales of very-low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) declined by 3.56pc on the year to 32.87mn t in 2021, although HSFO sales increased by 21.63pc to 12.89mn t over the same period.

This means that 25pc of sales in Singapore, or one in four barrels, was of the high-sulphur grade, demand for which has been supported by a widening price differential with VLSFO. The Hi-5 spread, or the spread between Singapore 0.5pc sulphur marine fuel and 380cst HSFO prices, averaged $119.74/t in 2021, up from $97.82/t in 2020, according to Argus data.

There were nine months in 2021 when Singapore sold over 1mn t of HSFO compared with just four months in 2020, when the International Maritime Organization’s 0.5pc sulphur cap for marine fuels took effect.

Sales of low-sulphur marine gasoil (LSMGO) totalled 3.72mn t last year, down slightly from 4.06mn t in 2020.

Bunker Fuel

Singapore’s bunker fuel consumption reached 4.18mn t in December, down by 44,000t from November.

A total of 39,447 vessels called at Singapore to refuel in 2021, down from 40,585 in 2020, according to MPA data.

Total container throughput hit a record high of 37.5mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to drive up demand for seaborne transport despite logistical bottlenecks, especially in Asia.

Singapore also sold a total of 50,000t of LNG as bunker fuel last year, with the first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operation completed in March.

Market participants think that Singapore’s future as a bunkering hub in the near term will be impacted most by growth in alternative bunker fuels, especially LNG and biofuels, and intensifying competition from other ports in Asia, according to an Argus poll conducted in December.

Over 70pc of the participants surveyed think that Singapore’s bunker fuel demand will total 50mn t or more in 2022.

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Source: Argus Media

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