Singapore — In less than a month, China is set to tighten its sulfur limit restrictions for ships by imposing a 0.5% bunker fuel sulfur limit in not only its initially designated Emission Control Areas but also along its entire coastline, a move likely to spur demand for cleaner fuels, industry sources said.
“The policy will further support demand for LSMGO,” a bunker trader with state-owned Chinese trader, Sinochem, told S&P Global Platts.
Low sulfur fuel oil demand is also set for a significant rise, thanks to the new rule, sources said.
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Not only remains uncertainty around the regulatory implementation of the global sulphur cap but also concerns regarding the low sulphur fuel availability in 2020 as highlighted during the Greener Shipping Summit 2017 in Athens, Greece. Kostas Vlachos, COO of Spiros Latsis-backed Consolidated Marine Management said that the changeover cannot occur “overnight” without serious economic consequences. “All stakeholders, regulators, refineries, owners, associations, makers and states, have to play a very important and critical role for the effective, efficient and soft implementation.”
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Ships that do not comply with the forthcoming 0.5% sulphur cap on fuel oil could be considered “unseaworthy”, invalidating charter parties and liability insurance cover.
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The international oil and gas company ExxonMobil will still be engaged with the shipping industry as the market changes into a multi-fuel landscape under the global sulphur cap regulation from 2020. As Iain White, ExxonMobil Marine Fuels and Lubricants global marketing manager said ExxonMobil is going to be involved in making all the options of the multi-fuel scenario available including LNG, high sulphur fuel oil use with abatement technology, 0.1% and 0.5% sulphur fuel oil as well as blends and distillates.
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