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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

HSFO380 supply has improved in Houston while its price maintains regional premiums, and truck driver strikes have limited outbound cargo in Argentina’s Bahia Blanca and Necochea this week.

US fuel oil inventories were drawn last week, and averaged 7% lower in July than in June. The stocks fell through July despite a 44,000 b/d month-on-month increase in fuel oil output from refineries, and a 42,000 b/d drop in volumes supplied by refineries, blenders and bulk terminals.

The country’s fuel oil inventories fell between June and July largely because of an 85,000 b/d decrease in imports between the months. Gulf Coast inventories averaged their lowest monthly level this year in July, possibly limiting available volumes for the region’s bunker ports at times.

HSFO380 tightened towards the end of July in Houston, and its price has held at rare premiums over several other locations in the Americas, including New York, Norfolk, Panamanian and Ecuadorian ports. Availability of HSFO380 has improved this week in Houston, but its price remains at premiums.

Prompt deliveries of VLSFO and LSMGO are possible in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA), but certain suppliers have tight availability in the coming week.

Delivery schedules for some suppliers in Balboa are filling up for the next few days, while others can offer prompt VLSFO, LSMGO and HSFO380.

There is generally good availability across other North American and South American bunkering ports.

Port workers in Bahia Blanca and Necochea returned to work last Saturday to end a two-day strike. Argentina’s National Stevedores Union called the strike because of “internal conflict between different factions within the National Union,” shipping agency Antares said.

Separately to this strike, Argentinian truck drivers continue to block access to both Bahia Blanca and Necochea, demanding that tariffs should be updated to keep up with runaway inflation of 50% in the country. Truck drivers in Necochea have been negotiating with the port for a deal that would lift the blockage. The blockage has prevented inland cargo from reaching the ports’ storage terminals. Cargo loadings from the terminals onto ships will continue until inventories are depleted, and vessels have already been loading at a slower pace because of diminishing cargo, according to Antares.

Source: ENGINE

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