S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore Sees Lowest Half-Year Bunker Sales Total Since 2015

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Wednesday July 13, 2022

Bunker demand in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, sank on both a yearly and monthly basis in June, leaving the first-half total at the lowest half-yearly sum since 2015.

The city-state's total demand dropped to 3.8 million mt in June, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was down by 8.7% from the same month a year earlier, by 8.8% from May's level and only slightly above the 3.5 million mt seen in February, which was the lowest since February 2015.

Prices in Singapore surged last month as its VLSFO supplies dwindled. VLSFO averaged $1,107.50/mt in Singapore last month, according to Ship & Bunker prices, up from $932.50/mt the previous month, and its premium to Rotterdam widened by $80/mt to $181.50/mt.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales sank by 10.8% on the month to 2.4 million mt, HSFO rose by 2% to 1.1 million mt, distillates dropped by 26.7% to 279,600 mt and other fuels rallied by 22.1% to 27,600 mt. HSFO's share of the total was 29.1%, up from 25.8% the same month a year earlier.

The niche LNG bunker market in Singapore continues to grow, after seeing total sales of 50,000 mt last year, but LNG sales are not yet being included in the monthly figures.

Slow Start to 2022

June's numbers brought Singapore's first-half 2022 total to 22.9 million mt, the lowest half-yearly total since the first half of 2015. This year Singapore's bunker market has been under siege from continuing COVID lockdown effects in Asia, an HSFO contamination problem in February and March and now supply issues caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

There were 2,940 vessel calls for bunkers in June, 7.2% lower than the level seen a month earlier. That left the average stem size last month at about 1,277 mt, compared with the 12-month average of 1,281 mt.

Passenger Vessels Drop

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore slipped by 0.4% on the year to 230.6 million mt. This decline was led by the passenger segment, which lost 2.5 million mt. Bulker tonnage calls fell by 1.6 million mt, while tankers gained 2.2 million mt and containers rose by 2.5 million mt.

The mandatory mass flow meter systems used to measure all bunker deliveries in Singapore come with a +/-0.5% margin of error, a level considered more accurate than traditional measurement systems used at most other ports with the added benefit of all but eliminated volumetric malpractice.

Only licensed companies can supply bunkers in Singapore, and the MPA calculates sales based on the bunker delivery notes of those companies.