Europe & Africa Fuel Availability Outlook 30 Aug 2023

Northwest Europe

HSFO availability in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA hub has improved, sources say. However, securing the grade for very prompt delivery dates (0-2 days) remains difficult. Lead times of 5-6 days are recommended for the grade, slightly down from 5-7 days last week.

Meanwhile, prompt LSMGO availability has tightened in the ARA hub, two sources say. Some suppliers are hesitant to offer the grade for very prompt delivery dates, while those offering are quoting with steep prompt premiums, a trader says.

Lead times of up to four days are recommended for LSMGO, another source says. The tightness in Rotterdam’s LSMGO supply flipped its price to a rare premium of $7/mt over ICE Gasoil contract on Wednesday.

Rotterdam’s LSMGO price has typically traded at a discount to front-month ICE Gasoil futures in recent weeks. It was trading at a $27/mt discount to ICE Gasoil last week, but these discounts have eroded since.

ICE Gasoil is in steep backwardation, with $13/mt between the front- and second-month contracts. Its second-to-third month spread was even wider at nearly $32/mt on Wednesday. A backwardated forward structure is usually a sign of fewer incentives to store products.

Some refineries in the ARA are diverting more distillates to VLSFO blending, a trader claims.

However, prompt VLSFO availability has tightened a bit in the ARA hub. Lead times for the grade have gone up from last week’s four days, to 4-7 days now. While VLSFO availability is relatively better compared to the other two grades, there have been signs of slight supply tightness, a source says.

Prompt LSMGO is very tight in the Dutch port of Terneuzen.

In the German port of Hamburg, VLSFO and LSMGO availability is normal. Recommended lead times for both grades are about five days.


All grades remain in good supply across Gibraltar Strait ports, a source says. Lead times of 3-5 days are recommended for VLSFO and LSMGO in Gibraltar, and 4-6 days for HSFO.

On Wednesday, a total of 17,000 mt of VLSFO was discharged in Ceuta, with 11,000 mt going to one supplier and 6,000 mt to another, according to the Port of Ceuta. These replenishment cargoes will boost VLSFO supply in the port.

Minimum congestion was reported in Gibraltar, Algeciras and Ceuta on Wednesday, port agent MH Bland says. One supplier in Gibraltar and three in Algeciras were behind schedule.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is good in the Portuguese ports of Lisbon and Sines.

Other bunker delivery areas in the Mediterranean such as Piraeus, off Malta and Istanbul have good availability of VLSFO and LSMGO, a source says. HSFO supply has improved off Malta, despite only one supplier offering the grade.


VLSFO and LSMGO availability is normal in the South African ports of Cape Town and Durban, where lead times of up to seven days are still recommended, a source says.

Availability of both grades is good in the nearby ports of Nacala and Maputo in Mozambique, a source says. HSFO availability remains very tight in Nacala.

Meanwhile, bunker fuel availability is said to be very tight in Beira in Mozambique. Due to tight bunker supply and long delays in Beira, ships there are seeking alternative bunkering locations such as Maputo or Nacala, a source says.
Source: ENGINE, By Nithin Chandran,

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