ExxonMobil Exec Upbeat on IMO2020 Market Prospects

Thursday March 14, 2019

IMO2020 is an opportunity that oil major ExxonMobil is well prepared for through its own range of IMO2020-compliant fuels.

That was the message given to Forbes magazine by Luca Volta, marine fuels venture manager at ExxonMobil, in an interview at an industry event held in Houston this week.

And what the executive says more or less confirms what the marine fuels industry has been thinking and saying over the last year in the run up to January 1, 2020, the date which ushers in the new 0.5% sulfur bunker fuel era.

"We will be ready with the products and point of sales by the third quarter of 2019," Volta is quoted as saying.

"That's when we expect marine customers will start to bunker as the deadline of January 1, 2020 approaches.

"It will be challenging for all of them to adapt; but all the top ten ports will have product available."

Volta positions ExxonMobil as a "significant player" in the post-IMO 2020 marine bunker and fuel market.

"We are digging deep to make it happen.

"Our compliant [0.50%] sulfur fuels range from RMD80 to RMG380 with a density of between 900 and 970 at 15 degrees Celsius, and catalytic fine content meeting ISO 8217:2017 parameters.

"The compatibility characteristics of these fuels leverage ExxonMobil's proprietary technology."

In terms of what could wrong, the executive said that he has seen an "advanced state of preparedness" in shipping companies.

"There are operational anxieties. But I've got say that I am seeing very detailed compliance plans being instituted by shipping companies.

"The largest of these, especially publicly-listed ones, are reporting an advanced state of preparedness even if this information is not widely available."

However, Volta acknowledged that the small shipping companies "are facing challenges".

"We are giving IMO 2020 help and guidance to those who work with us."

Volta assesses bunker consumption is around 5 million barrels per day (bpd).

"We see that increasing to more than 8 million bpd by 2040.

"Notionally, when we look at the fuel mix – 10% will be LNG, 30% will be distillate fuel oil, and the remainder will be residual in nature from high to low sulfur.

"We are heading to the '0.50 world' and not sitting back," he said.