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Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook by ENGINE

A Portuguese refinery outage has curbed regional supply, and ARA stocks have been drawn to multi-month lows.

Availability remains tight in the Gibraltar Strait following a production halt at Portugal’s Sines refinery last month. No fuel oil cargoes have departed from Sines in three weeks, according to cargo tracking.

Several suppliers in the Gibraltar Strait, Canary Islands and the wider Mediterranean region that source fuel oils from the refinery have had to look elsewhere for replenishment this month.

Integrated bunker suppliers in the Gibraltar Strait will resupply from their own refineries, while others will look towards alternative sources, sources say. Fuel oil cargoes have been imported to Gibraltar from Spain, the ARA, UK and Scandinavia, Italy, France and the US.

Supply capacity in Algeciras has been capped by a barge in drydock.

A supplier’s earliest delivery date in Gibraltar is around nine days out. Other suppliers have advised lead times of 3-4 days. There was minimal bunker congestion in Gibraltar on Wednesday morning, with only one vessel waiting, port agent MH Bland said.

ARA’s residual fuel oil and gasoil stocks have been drawn down to their lowest levels since March-April last year, according to consultancy Insights Global.

While VLSFO and LSMGO bunker grades continue to be readily available from suppliers in the ARA and northern European ports, HSFO380 can be tight for prompt dates and usually require longer lead times.

Las Palmas is experiencing calmer weather after high swells and disruptions at its outer anchorage at the beginning of the week. Suppliers can work through backlogs before another round of high swells and possible delays is expected from Monday.

Strong winds suspended bunkering in all designated bunkering areas off Malta on Wednesday morning and significant delays are expected, port agent MH Bland says. Calmer conditions are forecast from Th