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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Fuel availability is steady in South Africa despite recent refinery shutdown, while rough weather could disrupt bunkering in the Gibraltar Strait and Port Elizabeth over the coming week.

VLSFO and LSMGO remain readily available for supply on prompt delivery dates in European ports and there are no fuel shortages reported.

ARA’s independent fuel oil stocks have been drawn for two weeks and dropped to their lowest levels since January. But there is still more fuel oil stored now than on average over the past five years.

ARA’s gasoil stocks, meanwhile, remain well below their five-year average position, after having been drawn down since February.

HSFO380 can be tight for certain prompt dates in the Canary Islands and Malta, where there are fewer suppliers offering the grade than in Gibraltar and ARA. Around six days of lead time is recommended in the Canary Islands, against 2-3 days in the Gibraltar Strait and ARA.
Bunker fuel availability is also good across South African ports, despite the recent force majeure at Sapref’s Durban refinery that was triggered by riots and deteriorating security last week. The refinery was forced to shut for a week to this Wednesday.

Sapref’s refinery South Africa’s largest and produces bunker fuels for domestic ports. South African ports became increasingly reliant on the refinery for domestically produced fuels last year, when fires forced closures of Astron Energy’s Cape Town refinery and Engen’s Durban refinery. The Sapref refinery has just recently ramped up production after extended maintenance work.

Port operations in Durban and Richards Bay have “normalised” after civil unrest and riots closed transport links and prevented workers from accessing the ports last week, South African state-owned logistics firm Transnet says in a statement on Tuesday.

Bunker supply in northern German bunkering ports has not been affected by the recent flooding in the country, which has mostly been concentrated in the western part of the country. Cargo shipments up the Rhine river have been disrupted, however. The river is a key transport route for oil products such as gasoil, diesel and fuel oil.

Ceuta has rough weather in store with strong winds from the west forecast for the weekend. The weekend weather looks calmer for Gibraltar and Algeciras, but strong winds are expected there in the middle of next week.

Port Elizabeth and the Algoa Bay anchorage off the port is forecast to receive gale of up to 39 knots, and swell of over six metres, on Wednesday evening and Thursday. Bunkering can get suspended with wind speeds of more than 25 knots and swell above 2.5 metres.

Source: ENGINE

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