More companies are entering the Singapore marine fuel market, hunting for opportunities ahead of the International Maritime Organisation’s global sulphur limit for bunker fuels that are expected to drive demand for cleaner fuels, industry sources told S&P Global Platts.

“We are seeing more companies returning to the Singapore market, some of which have been quiet for the last few years. Suddenly they are more active this year,” a Singapore bunker trader said.

At least two companies Petrobras and Mitsui have confirmed to Platts that they plan to expand their business activities in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port.

Several others including Freepoint Commodities and Marubeni Corporation were also getting more active in the marine fuel market than before, according to market sources. But this could not be confirmed with both companies.

The IMO regulations will cap global sulphur content in marine fuels at 0.5% starting January 1, 2020, compared with the current 3.5%.

The viability of new fuels such as low-sulphur fuel oil, LNG, biofuels, methanol has opened the market to more companies that were outside the traditional high sulphur fuel market in the past, traders say.

“People are capitalising on the compliant fuels business, especially those who have been traditionally strong in low sulfur fuel oil production,” another bunker trader said.

Key drivers include catering to customer needs and maintaining good LSFO quality while optimising efficiency in barging turnarounds and operations, they said.

Singapore is already facilitating a smooth transition to IMO 2020 by readying its fleet of bunker barges to deliver an array of IMO-compliant bunker fuels.

“As of August 1, all 199 licensed bunker tankers for the supply of fuel to ocean-going vessels have been fitted with calibrated mass flow meters (MFM) and can supply various blends of compliant fuels,” a spokesperson at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore told Platts recently.

Continue reading the article by S & P Global Platts.

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