S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore November Bunker Sales Jump to 21-Month High

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Tuesday December 13, 2022

Bunker demand in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, jumped to the highest level in almost two years last month.

The city-state's total demand reached 4.4 million mt in November, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was up by 3.6% from the same month a year earlier, by 2,9% from October's level and the highest monthly total since January 2021.

The total had risen by 7.1% on a monthly basis in October.

Singapore's total for 2022 is now heading for about 47.7 million mt, down by 4.5% from last year and the lowest annual figure since 2019.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales rose by 6.4% on the month to 2.8 million mt in November, HSFO fell by 4.7% to 1.2 million mt, distillates advanced by 4.6% to 330,600 mt and other fuels rallied by 10.2% to 40,900 mt.

HSFO's share of the total was 28.6%, up from 28.2% 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. Biofuel blend sales are also being carried out -- reaching a total of about 70,000 mt in January to September of this year -- but are not included in the official data.

Q4 Demand Remains Strong

November's total showed Q4 demand is set to gain further after Singapore's Q3 total hit the highest quarterly level since the fourth quarter of 2021, with the market improving after persistent weakness earlier on in 2022. Singapore's first-half total was the lowest since the first half of 2015, undermined by COVID lockdown effects in Asia, the HSFO contamination problem in February and March and supply issues caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Renewed concerns over COVID-19 in Asia and a sharp drop in container freight rates appear not to be playing into bunker demand figures yet.

There were 3,299 vessel calls for bunkers in November, 3.9% lower than the level seen a month earlier. That left the average stem size last month at about 1,326 mt, compared with the 12-month average of 1,278 mt.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in November was $680.50/mt, according to Ship & Bunker data, down by 6.1% from October's level but up by 9.8% from the level seen a year earlier. Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of average prices across 20 leading bunkering ports lost 4.9% on the month and gained 14.6% on the year to $713/mt in November.

Bulker Visits Climb

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore jumped by 7.6% on the year to 248.5 million mt. This advance was led by the dry bulk segment, where calls by gross tonnage gained 10.8 million mt. Tanker tonnage calls rose by 2.8 million mt, while containers rose by 4.6 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.