Normal bunker activity in Chile’s Valparaiso following 6.9 earthquake

SANTIAGO – The bunker fuel market in Chile’s Valparaiso port is operating normally after the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the area on Monday, according to fuel suppliers and traders in the region.

“Bunker ships are working normally and [there are] no further delays in operations at ports and terminals,” Copec, the largest bunker fuel supplier in Chile, said in an email to customers.

Read more: Chile hit by 6.9 magnitude earthquake

Copec noted that the local refinery, Aconcagua, was operating normally, adding there was no need for any force majeure declarations. State-owned oil company ENAP said Monday that its 104,000 b/d Aconcagua refinery had already restarted operations, after the tremor briefly affected its power supply.

“We are used to constant earthquake activity in this region and we are operating in normal conditions,” a Chilean bunker trader said.

“This tremor is nothing compared to the earthquake we had in 2010,” the trader added.

In February 2010, an earthquake of 8.8 magnitude hit Chile, causing hundreds of deaths and forcing all ships out of the Valparaiso port due to a tsunami alert.

So far this year, Chilean ports have seen strong bunker fuel demand due to a lack of that product in the neighboring ports of Callao, Peru, and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

And while this week marks the end of the cruise season in Chile, the market is not expected to soften much given the looming winter season in the Southern Hemisphere, when fuel oil will be used for power generation, accordingly tightening supply in bunker markets.

Valparaiso is located in central Chile and is one of the country’s main ports.