Caltex Australia has shutdown the Lytton refinery in Brisbane, according to Ship&Bunker. The Australian refinery will remain closed until market conditions improve. Caltex had announced, in April, that it will bring forward "planned maintenance at Lytton refinery".
The significant fall in world fuel demand, caused by the Covid-19 crisis, led the Australian petroleum company to that important decision.
"Bringing forward our maintenance programme at the Lytton refinery in a planned way will protect our business from the unprecedented economic impacts of Covid-19 and ensure we can transition to import supply without disruption," stated Matthew Halliday, interim chief executive officer.
Regarding the flow of bunker prices, a MABUX spokesperson commented to Container News that "Over the past two weeks bunker prices have moved off their lows and general sentiment now seems to be a bit more optimistic."
MABUX Global Bunker Index for 380 HSFO rose from US$213/mt on 1 May up to US$229/mt on 14 May, an increase of US$26/mt). At the same time, VLSFO and MGO increased to US$260/mt (plus US$21/mt) and to US$329/mt (plus US$8/mt), respectively.
"Despite this, it is still far too early to say we are on a definite upwards trend," added the spokesperson. "Oil stocks are still increasing, and this is expected to continue for at least another 1-2 months."
The cuts in crude oil production are reducing the losses in oil demand, but are still not big enough to balance oil market today. The outlook for global economic growth remains pessimistic while global fuel market fundamentals continue to depress bunker prices.
The coronavirus and the signs of any potential economic recovery will play a significant role in determining the timing and extent of bunker price retrieval in the coming weeks.