Fuel oil bunkering operations in Istanbul have tightened and prices firmed as delays in Piraeus and Novorossiisk has seen more business move to the Turkish port, sources said Tuesday.

Activity in the Bosporus has been high since last week and continued to be so.

“Barge availabilities are very tight for the next few days to high demand,” one bunker supplier said.

In Piraeus, Hellenic refinery issues have limited supply, sources have said, though that was denied by the plant operator.

While the supply of fuel oil was said to be affected, availability of gasoil was normal.

Furthermore, sources were expecting a customs union strike on Thursday. Although unofficial at this stage, the strike could be expected to slow operations at the port, sources said.

While some sources said the Greek port was able to manage its inquiries, others said any more demand would create problems. “We have seen some demand slide into Istanbul,” a trader said.

In turn, the discount of delivered fuel oil prices in Istanbul to Piraeus has fallen to a one-month low, last assessed at $3.50/mt and last seen lower at $1/mt on September 29.

Meanwhile, premiums of the same fuel oil prices in Istanbul over those in Novorossiisk have been averaging about $30/mt this month.

A holiday in Novorossiisk Monday made bunkering operations at the port slower and less reliable than usual, sources said.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News.