(Bloomberg) -- Mercuria Energy Group’s ship-fueling business Minerva Bunkering started deliveries in Egypt, becoming the first international service to enter the market after being awarded a license to do so earlier in May.

Linking Europe with Asia, Egypt’s Suez Canal is one of the shipping world’s biggest choke-points. For trading houses like Mercuria, a foothold there provides a key operating point to sell fuel oil from its global network to some of the over 23,000 vessels that transit through the waterway.

Minerva has already delivered to ten bunker clients in Egypt and is using a 150,000 deadweight tonne Suezmax tanker as floating storage, as well as five bunker tankers to refuel vessels there. The company has a license to operate in Egypt’s northern and southern ports as well as canal convoy waiting areas, CEO Tyler Baron said in a phone interview.

“There’s obviously a lot of potential just given the attributes of the market – the density of freight volume, it’s uniquely positioned in between East and West in terms of pricing centers and then probably the biggest advantage is that shipping companies can take on fuel while awaiting their canal transit with no lost time,” Baron said.

(Updates to add information on first ten bunker deliveries, a previous version corrected quote in final paragraph.)

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