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Iraq and Oman stand to gain bunkering from Fujairah

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Some shippers in the Middle East are refueling at Iraqi and Omani Ports instead of Fujairah, the region’s biggest bunkering hub, to avoid longer than usual waits at the UAE port, traders told S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Vessels with cargo moving out from Kuwait and Iraq’s Basrah and Khor al Zubair are going to Iraq rather than Fujairah because of shorter lead times and “competitive pricing,” one trader in Iraq said. “We have good availability for gasoil, high sulfur grades with moderate availability for marine fuel 05%S. Our barging rate is good up to 300 mts/hr.” the trader added.

Refueling at Iraqi ports brings the ships through the Strait of Hormuz. The eastern port of Fujairah has developed rapidly in recent years to capitalize on its strategic location on the Gulf of Oman, outside the Strait of Hormuz chokepoint, with several tank farms, bunkering facilities and simple refineries.

“Wait times to bunker in Fujairah are as much as six to seven days compared with normal four to five days,” a Dubai-based trader said.

In Oman, “availability is normal for VLSFO and gasoil with sluggish demand in the ports of Sohar and Duqm in recent days,” an Oman-based trader said.

Oman Oil Marketing Co. has recently received a license to supply marine fuel 0.5%S, gasoil, and high sulfur 380 grade at Oman’s Sohar port.

“We have flexibility, we have availability, we don’t have the wait times for ships to anchor, so we can add value where Fujairah cannot,” the company’s senior manager Christophe El Kati said.

Fujairah delivered marine fuel 0.5% sulfur averaged $1,096/mt in June, a premium of $18.50/mt to Iraqi port Basrah, according to Platts assessments by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

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