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The European Fuel Oil Price: Oil Price Assessments

What is European Fuel Oil?

Platts European fuel oil price assessments cover both the high and low sulfur spheres, divided between 3.5% and 1% maximum sulfur, cargo and barge marketplaces.

Fuel oil has a number of uses globally, though the largest market for the heavy, residual refined product is bunker fuel, where the material fuels large, sea-going vessels. This market sees upwards of 250 million mt demand a year, globally, and our assessments are used to benchmark a great deal of this exposure.

Platts European fuel oil assessments are also used in electricity oil/gas indexed pricing and dark spread formations. The European utility market, now mostly dominated by Mediterranean outlets, sees a relatively small demand pool for low sulfur fuel oil from oil-fired utility plants.

Platts fuel oil assessments are also used to price bitumen, and their reach goes further still into the high and low sulfur straight-run fuel oil markets.

As with most refined oil product markets, each single traded clip reported by Platts in its Market on Close assessment process may well trade more than once before it finds its way into the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp storage hub, the European cargo market or ship-owner end-user demand pool. Through our Market on Close price assessment process, we report on hundreds of deals a month equating to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of material.

Our analysis of trading activity culminates in the publication of the Platts FOB Rotterdam 3.5% and 1% fuel oil barges, Platts Northwest European 3.5% sulfur and 1% sulfur fuel oil cargoes and Platts Mediterranean European 3.5% sulfur and 1% sulfur fuel oil cargoes — our daily fuel oil price assessments of both high and low sulfur fuel oil in the barge and cargo marketplaces. We also provide daily market analysis for the European fuel oil complex and assessment rationales for each benchmark oil price assessment within the markets we report on.

The Platts European fuel oil price assessments are available in these Platts services.

How do we assess Platts European fuel oil?

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Platts European fuel oil barge price assessments reflect the repeatable, transactable price of fuel oil at 16:30 London time, loading 3-15 or 5-15 days forward, Monday to Tuesday, Wednesday through Friday, respectively. Platts European fuel oil cargo assessments reflect the repeatable, transactable price of fuel oil for 10-25 days ahead, also assessed at 16:30 London time.

Platts 1% fuel oil barge assessments reflect clips of 1,000 mt, while Platts 3.5% fuel oil barge assessments reflect clips of 2,000 mt. Platts European fuel oil cargo assessments reflect cargoes of 30,000 mt for both high and low sulfur markets.

Cargoes must be free of any restrictions or limitations placed on the cargo buyer, such as resale or destination clauses, and should always reflect standard industry norms and practice.

All Platts fuel oil is assessed on a Market on Close assessment process basis.

Evolution of Platts European fuel oil price assessments

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Platts first began assessing the European fuel oil barge markets in 1979. The cargo markets followed shortly after in 1980.

Over the years, the high and low suflur specifications Platts has reflected have changed a great deal. While the higher sulfur barge market typically reflected a bunker specification grade, Platts low sulfur fuel oil barges reflected a variety of utility and bunker fuel specifications. These moves echoed the transitions the fuel oil market has witnessed over the years; evolving on the emergence of cheaper and readily available natural gas from a utility market to one centred around bunker fuel.

Given the markets' primary outlet, over time the specifications Platts reflects have also shifted towards the bunker market. Platts 3.5% sulfur barge assessments reflect International Standards Organization (ISO) bunker fuel requirements, as does Platts 3.5% Mediterranean fuel oil cargo assessments. Platts Northwest European 3.5% sulfur fuel oil cargoes reflect a look-alike specification for Russian Mazut-100, a typical fuel oil export grade.

Platts 1% sulfur barge assessments have reflected a bunker grade since 2010, when the market shifted from a utility reflection to instead match the growing demand and supply focused within the shipping market. Likewise, while Platts 1% sulfur fuel oil cargo assessments in both Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean still reflect a utility grade, the specification reflected changed in 2012 to better mirror a blendable bunker fuel specification.


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How do you access the price of European fuel oil?

Our fuel oil price assessments can be accessed in the following Platts services.

Market Data – Oil

  • Access the latest, most accurate oil price data. This service provides you with our end-of-day assessments, corrections, third-party data, and a rolling 45-day historical database.
  • The most efficient and reliable way to receive our industry-standard benchmark assessments data
  • Complete and custom historical data sets are also available.

European Marketscan

  • European Marketscan delivers everything you need to gain a full and clear 360 degree view of the European oil products market each business day
  • Includes benchmark price assessments for refined oil products in key markets — including fuel oil assessments on page 1 — and expert analysis and market commentary from our international team of journalists
  • If your interest is US fuel oil, please request a trial of US Marketscan

Platts Global Alert

  • Provides up-to-the-minute developments, price discovery, and market commentary for the world's crude and refined oil products market
  • Real-time coverage of news and markets from our team of dedicated market specialists
  • End-of-day assessments covering more than 200 prices

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