S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore February Bunker Sales Drop to Eight-Month Low

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Tuesday March 14, 2023

Conventional bunker sales volumes in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, dropped to the lowest level in eight months in February after spending January at a two-year high.

The city-state's total demand reached 3.79 million mt in February, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was the lowest since June 2022, up by 8.3% from the same month a year earlier but down by 13.3% from January's level.

The month-on-month decline was typical for this time of year, with Singapore usually seeing a drop-off in demand in February caused by the Lunar New Year holidays. Over the past 10 years Singapore's demand has declined by an average of 11.4% between January and February.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales declined by 16.2% on the month to 2.34 million mt in February, HSFO slipped by 9.5% to 1.11 million mt, distillates dropped by 6.6% to 303,200 mt and other fuels rose by 33.6% to 33,400 mt.

HSFO's share of the total was 29.2%, up from 26.4% the same month a year earlier.

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.

Bunker Calls Fall on Month

The number of vessels calling at Singapore to bunker declined on the month.

The total dropped by 11.1% from January's level to 3,063 vessels last month, the least since June 2022.

That left the average stem size last month at about 1,239 mt, compared with an average over the previous 12 months of 1,268 mt.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in February was $643/mt, according to Ship & Bunker data, down by 0.4% from January's level and by 12.4% from the level seen a year earlier. Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of average prices across 20 leading bunkering ports gained 0.2% on the month and lost 10.1% on the year to $665/mt in February.

Bulker Visits Climb

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore jumped by 9.3% on the year to 226.7 million mt in February. This advance was led by the dry bulk segment, where calls by gross tonnage gained 12.1 million mt. Container tonnage calls rose by 4.3 million mt, while tankers advanced by 2.7 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.