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SINGAPORE: Asia's 0.5% very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) firmed on Monday on hopes that surging natural gas prices could force regional utilities to ramp up low-sulphur residual fuel consumption to meet electricity demand. The front-month VLSFO crack jumped even as crude prices rose, climbing to a more than two-week high of $12.45 a barrel above Dubai crude. The crack was up from a more than four-month low of $10.56 on Tuesday, Refinitiv Eikon data showed. Oil prices rose more than 2%, extending gains as an energy crisis gripping major economies shows no sign of easing amid a pick up in economic activity and restrained supplies from major producers. Freepoint bought a 20,000-tonne 0.5% VLSFO cargo trade from Trafigura at a $2.50 per tonne premium to Singapore quotes.

A similar VLSFO cargo was last traded in the window at a $1 per tonne premium on Wednesday. No high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) cargo trades were reported.

Overall floating storage inventories for residual fuel in the Malacca Strait slipped to a two-week low in the week ended Oct. 6, led by a fall in HSFO and unspecified fuel stockpiles, according to data intelligence firm Kpler.

Total floating storage inventories fell by 126,000 tonnes, or 4%, from the previous week to 3.38 million tonnes.

Floating inventories of HSFO stocks dropped 13%, or 116,000 tonnes, from the previous week to 774,000 tonnes in the week to Oct. 6. Stocks of residual fuels with unspecified sulphur contents fell 42%, or 230,000 tonnes, to 321,000 tonnes.

By contrast, VLSFO supplies climbed 11%, or 220,000 tonnes, to 2.28 million tonnes. In the week to Sept. 29, the floating residual fuel inventories hit a three-month high totalling 3.5 million tonnes. S&P Global Platts plans to launch daily assessments for bitumen based on its Market on Close assessment methodology for two grades of bitumen basis FOB Singapore and FOB South Korea starting Nov. 1., the company said in a note on Monday. Both assessments will reflect spot trading activity in 4,000-6,000 tonne parcels loading 15-30 days forward from the date of publication and will be published in US$/tonne on an outright basis as well as a differential to benchmark Platts FOB Singapore 380-cst HSFO assessments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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