S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore 2022 Bunker Sales Slip to Three-Year Low

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Friday January 13, 2023

Conventional bunker sales volumes in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, slipped to a three-year low last year as the number of vessels visiting the city-state to refuel sank to the lowest in at least 11 years.

The city-state's total demand reached 4.21 million mt in December, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was up by 0.9% from the same month a year earlier but down by 3.69% from November's level.

That left 2022's total at 47.88 million mt, down by 4.2% on the four year high of almost 50 million mt achieved last year, and making last year the lowest annual figure since 2019.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales fell by 5.7% on the month to 2.6 million mt in December, HSFO rallied by 1.3% to 1.27 million mt, distillates dropped by 7.4% to 306,200 mt and other fuels advanced by 13.9% to 46,600 mt.

HSFO's share of the total was 30%, up from 27.4% the same month a year earlier.

Taking 2022 as a whole, VLSFO took up 62.8% of the market, HSFO 28.5%, distillates 8% and ULSFO and other fuels 0.6%. These shares were up from 65.8%, 25.8%, 8.2% and 0.3% respectively the previous year.

The niche LNG bunker market in Singapore sank last year, seeing total sales fall to 16,000 mt in 2022 from 50,000 mt the previous year, but LNG sales are not yet being included in the monthly figures. Biofuel blend sales are also being carried out -- reaching a total of 140,000 mt last year -- but are not included in the monthly data.

2022 Bunker Calls Fall

One of the more striking figure in the data for 2022 as a whole was the number of vessels calling at Singapore to receive fuel.

This total dropped to 37,662 ships in 2022, down by 4.5% on the year and the least since at least 2011, the earliest year for which the data are available.

Taking bunker calls in terms of the gross tonnage of the ships rather than the vessel count, the figure is 2.05 billion GT for 2022, down by 2.6% on the year and the least since 2018.

The figures show a growing reliance on larger stems to make up Singapore's demand.

The average stem size in 2022 was about 1,273 mt, up from 1,268 mt the previous year.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in December was $622/mt, according to Ship & Bunker data, down by 8.6% from November's level but up by 2.1% from the level seen a year earlier. Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of average prices across 20 leading bunkering ports lost 9% on the month and gained 7.3% on the year to $648.50/mt in December.

Taking 2022 as a whole, Singapore saw an average VLSFO price of $809/mt, up by 50.8% on the year. The G20-VLSFO Index gained 52.5% on the year to an average of $829.50/mt in 2022.

Bulker Visits Climb

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore jumped by 6.7% on the year to 245.2 million mt in December. This advance was led by the dry bulk segment, where calls by gross tonnage gained 9.1 million mt. Tanker tonnage calls fell by 1.2 million mt, while containers rose by 7.7 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.