UAE gains from Singapore bunker fuel woes

Inquiries for bunker fuel supplies in the UAE's Fujairah oil hub have spiked as shippers avoid tainted fuel that has damaged ship engines in Singapore.

Inquiries for bunker fuel supplies in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Fujairah oil hub have spiked.  This is because shippers avoid loading tainted fuel that has damaged ship engines in Singapore recently, three trade sources said.

Tainted marine fuel has been found in Singapore, the world’s largest ship refuelling hub.  Previously, there were reports of more than 100 vessels that loaded similarly contaminated fuel in the U.S. Gulf Coast, Panama and the Dutch Antilles, according to sources and an alert published by a marine fuel surveying company.

“Last week we had seven to eight inquiries (on average per day).  But from Thursday to yesterday we’ve seen more than 17-18 (inquiries) per day,” said a Dubai-based trader with a global bunker fuel supplier.

The trader declined to be identified as he is unauthorised to speak to the media.

According to the trader, his company’s Singapore offices, along with other bunker fuel suppliers in the city-state, have recently faced quality claims from their customers that loaded contaminated fuel in Singapore.

“In Singapore it’s a contamination issue that makes the fuel like sludge so it clogs all the purifiers and causes big damage to the filters of the engine,” the Dubai trader said.

Despite a sharp decline in sales following the Qatari crisis in 2017, Fujairah is still among the top bunkering hubs.

Marine fuel sales in Fujairah have fallen to an average of about 600,000-700,000 tonnes per month in 2018.  This is in comparison to a monthly average of 1 million tonnes in the first half of 2017, according to trade sources.

Singapore, the top global bunkering hub, sold more than 4.2 million tonnes of ship fuels per month in 2017.

Credit: Reuters

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