Brazilian soyabean exports could be hit by delays after state-owned oil company Petrobras reportedly cancelled its bunkering operations at the southern port of Rio Grande on Friday 16 April, AgriCensus wrote.

“Unofficial sources say that Petrobras has suspended bunker deliveries owing to a big contaminated quantity of VLSFO found at their tank storages, and decided to suspend all bunker operations temporarily to test all stocks,” shipping agency Williams was quoted as saying.

The move could leave soyabean-carrying vessels without bunker fuel at the height of its busy export window, according to AgriCensus.

“This could be terrible [for soyabean exports], especially now that Rio Grande do Sul’s crops are expected to arrive at high volumes,” a Brazilian broker told AgriCensus.

The soyabean crops in Rio Grande do Sul, where the harvest is typically later than in the rest of the country, were sowed late this year with the harvest at 54% on 15 April, up 15 points on the week but 27 points behind on the year, data from Emater/RS-Ascar showed.

Meanwhile, nationally the harvest was 85% complete on 8 April, according to the latest data by consultancy Agrural.

Rio Grande do Sul’s soyabeans had been driving the domestic market over the last few days as “large volumes are arriving in the spot market with only about 40% of the crops sold beforehand,” one trader reportedly said.

The Rio Grande port exported 650,000 tonnes of soyabeans in March, with 44% of originating from within the state, AgriCensus wrote.

Exports from the port are expected to hit their cyclical peak between April and July, according to the report.

According to data from Williams, around 711,000 tonnes of soyabeans have been exported from the port this month, with another 1.19M tonnes scheduled to leave over the remainder of April.

At the time of the report, AgriCensus had not received comment from Petrobras.