ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

June 23, 2021 Maritime Safety News

Availability remains particularly tight in Vancouver, while ample supplies in Houston has prompted some suppliers to offer VLSFO at reduced prices.


Bunker fuels are generally in good availability across grades in US East Coast and Gulf Coast ports. There are no notable shortages in the Caribbean and in Panama’s ports either, while several West Coast ports have tight availability of VLSFO and LSMGO, and especially of HSFO380.

US residual fuel oil inventories have fallen by another 1%, placing them to three-week lows, the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows. A massive supply increase has been met partly through higher imports, while production levels have held steady.

The US imported about a quarter more fuel oil in May than in April to meet rising demand over the course of the month. Demand hit a six-month high last week.

US Gulf Coast stocks have been drawn further and fallen to three-week lows. Refineries in the Gulf Coast region produced just 12,000 b/d in the latest week – the lowest volume since October last year.

Houston is well supplied with VLSFO and some suppliers are offering the fuel grade at reduced levels to move product. Price offers are in a wide range, with the lowest offers pulling down the benchmark. Houston’s VLSFO price has dropped to a discount of around $10/mt to New Orleans, after the two Gulf Coast ports were at parity last week.

Supply is tighter along the US West Coast. Vancouver’s availability is particularly scarce, and suppliers have not yet given a date for when their inventories will be replenished. One supplier hopes to be resupplied in two weeks. Vancouver has VLSFO priced around $25/mt higher than in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Both VLSFO and LSMGO are in better availability in Los Angeles, but stems should be booked over a week in advance to ensure deliveries.

HSFO380 remains tight and longer lead times are recommended in Los Angeles and several other ports along the West Coast, while Panama’s Balboa can deliver at shorter notice.

A strike action in Argentinian ports has delayed some bunker stems. Argentina’s customs union staff went on a seven-hour strike on Tuesday, and bunker barges that were unable to load product and finish paperwork before the strike came into effect faced delays. Certain suppliers ran out of product to sell at the Zona Comun anchorage while resupply from nearby oil product terminals were delayed. A supplier’s earliest expected delivery dates has been pushed back to around a week out.

Barges that had already loaded product from Argentinian terminals could deliver more promptly. Buyers would have to weigh demurrage costs against costs for re-booking stems with suppliers not held back by the strike delays.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)