Oil product stockpiles at the UAE’s Port of Fujairah climbed to a four-week high on Sept. 12 led by gains in fuels used for power generation and shipping amid signs of slowing shipping demand for low sulfur grades, according to Fujairah Oil Industry Zone data published Sept. 14.
Total inventories were 23.450 million barrels as of Sept. 12, up 7.9% from a week earlier and the highest since Aug. 16, the FOIZ data provided exclusively to S&P Global Commodities Insights showed. All three product categories for light, middle and heavy distillates showed gains for the week.
Stocks of light distillates such as gasoline and naphtha rose 4.1% over the week to 7.361 million barrels — a three-week high — and middle distillates such as jet fuel and kerosene advanced 0.8% to 2.693 million barrels — a two-week high.
Stockpiles were now 27% higher than a year earlier led by a 53.57% jump in heavy distillates. Stocks of light distillates have climbed 27.9% over the same period and middle distillates are down by 32.4%.
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues used as fuel for power generation and marine bunkers jumped 12% in the week to 13.396 million barrels, the highest since June 7, 2021. Marine fuel with 0.5% sulfur delivered to Fujairah has dropped 37% since July 5 to $717/mt as of Sept. 13, after falling to $660/mt on Sept. 8, the lowest since Jan. 25, data from S&P Global data showed.
Subdued demand for low sulfur fuel oil bunker has primarily contributed to the rising stockpiles, according to local traders.
“Inquiries-wise, the market is on the quieter side [during the week started Sept. 12] even more so compared to the previous week,” a Fujairah-based trader said Sept. 14.
Amid the elevated LSFO inventories, Fujairah’s ex-wharf marine fuel 0.5%S cargoes for term contract supply in September was concluded at premiums of around $23-$37/mt to benchmark FOB Singapore marine fuel 0.5%S cargo values, softening from the $40-$60/mt concluded earlier for August parcels, traders said.
Recently, September-loading term contract ex-wharf cargoes were done at premiums of $23-$27/mt as upstream suppliers offered more competitively to draw down stockpiles, traders said.
“Offered levels [for LSFO bunkers] are everywhere with very few inquiries seen. Few stems could be fixed,” a Fujairah-based bunker supplier said. Most barges cannot refuel fast enough owing to congestion at terminals, market source said.
The weak demand has led to narrower Platts Fujairah-delivered marine fuel 0.5%S bunker premiums over the FOB Singapore marine fuel 0.5%S cargo assessments to average $40.85/mt Sept. 12-13 from $41.02/mt the week prior, according to S&P Global data.
HSFO demand, on the other hand, has been above average, traders said.
“Barging slots are tight up till Sept. 25, buyers are struggling to get offers,” a trader said. “Berths are occupied due to congestions… There are also limited barge capacity and few players for HSFO.”
Fuel oil exports from Fujairah were only slightly lower in the week starting Sept. 5 at 3.8 million barrels compared to 4.1 million barrels a week earlier, according to Kpler data. Saudi Arabia, which has sourced fuel oils from Fujairah for power generation amid hot weather-driven demand for air conditioning, has not been a destination country for Fujairah fuel oils since the week started Aug. 22, according to the data.