S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore August Bunker Sales Gain 1.1% on Year

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Wednesday September 14, 2022

Bunker demand in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, saw a modest gain on a yearly basis in August but slipped from July's seven-month high.

The city-state's total demand reached to 4.1 million mt in August, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was up by 1.1% from the same month a year earlier, but down by 0.1% from July's level.

The total had risen by 1.4% on a monthly basis in July.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales rose by 0.2% on the month to 2.5 million mt in August, HSFO fell by 2.9% to 1.2 million mt, distillates jumped by 4.3% to 341,700 mt and other fuels rallied by 61% to 32,600 mt.

HSFO's share of the total was 29.9%, up from 25.9% the same month a year earlier. Its monthly total came off slightly from the highest level since the pre-IMO 2020 era seen in July, having dropped in recent months after HSFO contamination problems seen in February and March.

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 sales are also being carried out, but are not included in the official data.

Strong Start to Second Half

August's total shows the strong start to the second half of the year seen in July's numbers continue, without advancing further, after persistent weakness early 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.

There were 3,212 vessel calls for bunkers in August, 1% higher than the level seen a month earlier and the most since July 2021. That left the average stem size last month at about 1,282 mt, compared with the 12-month average of 1,287 mt.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in August was $774.5/mt, according to Ship & Bunker prices, down by 22.9% from July's level but up by 46.7% from the level seen a year earlier. Ship & Bunker's G20 Index of average VLSFO prices at 20 leading bunkering ports lost 14.8% on the month and gained 54.3% on the year to $825/mt in August.

Tanker Visits Climb

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore jumped by 8.3% on the year to 245 million mt. This advance was led by the tanker segment, where calls by gross tonnage gained 9.5 million mt. Container tonnage calls rose by 7.4 million mt, while bulkers rose by 2.6 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.