Singapore bunker fuel sales slump more than 50% despite Japan quake
Singapore (Platts)--23Mar2011/946 am EDT/1346 GMT
The volume of bunker fuel sold in Singapore fell by more than 50% to
around 670,000 mt last week from about 1.36 million mt in the previous week
despite the massive March 11 earthquake in Japan, according to Platts'
estimates based on weekly data released by IE Singapore.
For the week ended March 16, IE Singapore statistics showed a 32% week on
week decline in the volume of fuel oil imports to around 930,000 mt, while
exports jumped 64% to around 650,000 mt. Commercial stockpiles of heavy
distillates during the week slipped to 18.46 million barrels from 18.89
million barrels in the previous week.
Meanwhile, refineries in Singapore are estimated to produce about 30% of
fuel oil from their overall refined capacity of around 1.0 million mt/week.
Taking into account IE Singapore data and local production estimates, it
appears that Singapore -- the biggest bunkering port in the world
in terms of sales -- did not see any incremental demand in the aftermath of
the earthquake in Japan which has dramatically reduced bunker fuel supplies at
Bunker fuel suppliers in the Tokyo Bay area -- JX Nippon Oil, Idemitsu
Kosan and Kyokuto Petroleum Industries -- have not resumed sales since the
March 11 earthquake.
JX, which restarted its 270,000 b/d Negishi refinery Monday, has yet to
resume seaborne shipments from the refinery and is not accepting new orders
for bunker fuel delivery at Tokyo Bay.
Idemitsu is also not accepting new orders for March-delivery bunker fuel
at Tokyo Bay, even though its 220,000 b/d Chiba refinery was not affected by
the earthquake, while Kyokuto Petroleum has not resumed bunker sales yet
despite its sole 175,000 b/d Chiba refinery having reached full production
JX Nippon and Idemitsu typically sell about 40,000 mt/month of bunker
fuel each, while Kyokuto Petroleum supplies about 20,000 mt/month.
In Singapore, bunker suppliers said there has not been any incremental
demand due to the Japan quake.
"Demand in Singapore has been pretty consistent these two weeks, before
and after the quake," said one major supplier Tuesday.
Major shipping lines have not changed their buying patterns, several
sources with shipowners told Platts, with one Japanese shipper saying it was
keeping to its term arrangements.
"We have managed to [maintain] our bunker supply [and] are not in an
extreme situation that we have to shift all demand for Japanese ports to
overseas, including Singapore," an official in charge of bunker procurement at
Another industry source pointed out that a ship buys bunker fuel based on
the route it has to take and although the price of bunker fuel is most
attractive in Singapore, it does not necessarily mean they will buy from
"It depends on the ships' routes and how well they plan their routes so
that they maintain their supply of bunker fuel," the source said, especially
since they now know they are unable to buy marine fuel from Japan.
As a result, ships would most likely fulfill their bunker requirements
from various ports like China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines which
are along their routes.
Platts assessed the Japan delivered 380 CST grade at $683/mt on Tuesday,
while the Singapore delivered 380 CST grade was assessed at $636.50/mt and the
ex-wharf 380 CST grade at $634.50/mt.
--Goh Shu Hui, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Norazlina Juma'at, email@example.com
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