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New quarterly statistics from Bureau Veritas VeriFuel show that bunker viscosity has risen from a global port average of 115 (@ 50oC) in Q1 2021 to 143 in Q3, while density has risen from 938.9 (@ 15oC) to 943.3 over the nine-month period.

Looking at a global average of viscosity on a month-by-month basis, it began the year at 122.1 in January. There was some fluctuation over subsequent months and then it was on the up from June (122.1) to September (150.5).

Density also showed an overall upwards trajectory over the course of the nine months, from 939.8 in January and then steadily increasing from June (939) though to 944.6 in September.

The monthly global port average for sulphur content has remained constant throughout the period, at 0.46%, and the same is true for Total Aged Sediment (TSA), at 0.03. Al+Si has fluctuated between 16-19 (mg/kg) over the timeframe and CCAI was 818 in January and remained relatively level month on month, rising to 821 in August and September.

In terms of Q2 versus Q3 parameters, on a port-by-port basis Las Palmas was the highest for viscosity (275.1/268.1) while Durban was the lowest (62.4/25.4). There was a notable increase between the two quarters at Balboa, rising from 104.7 to 189.5. Overall, viscosity levels rose at the majority of the ports monitored by VeriFuel, with the smallest quarter on quarter change noted at Fujairah (167.9/174.6).

Turning to density, Algeciras topped the list for both quarters (964.6/968.6) while Novorossiysk was at the bottom (912.5/913.0).

In terms of sulphur content, ARA fuel samples were seen to be closest to the IMO’s global sulphur limit of 0.50%, with 0.49% in Q2 and 0.50% in Q3.

There were some quarter on quarter (Q2 versus Q3) changes in relation to off-spec fuels. In Balboa, for example, 11.3% of fuel samples were deemed to be off spec in Q2 but it showed a clean slate in Q3. ARA registered 4.4% off-specs in Q2, and this narrowed to 2.2% in Q3. Istanbul rose from 3.7% to 5.3% and Busan showed zero off-specs in Q2 but 4.5% in Q3.

Lagos registered a large percentage of off-spec samples in Q2 – some 44% - but this fell back to 7.7% in Q2.

The ports where no off-spec fuels were seen by VeriFuel in the last two quarters were Algeciras, Durban, Hong Kong, Santos, Novorossiysk, and Zona Commun.

Looking at the reasons behind the off-specs in some of the ports in Q3, sulphur and sodium parameters were exceeded in ARA and CCAI in Busan. Sulphur parameters were also breached in Fujairah and Lagos and excess sediment was seen in Colombo, Houston and Piraeus.

Excess water content was found in samples at Colombo, Istanbul and Singapore


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