IMO2020: Bunker Compatibility Issues Could Push Up Cost of Bunkering, Says Singapore Supplier

Monday January 28, 2019

Potential compatibility problems between different IMO2020 compliant fuels could push up the cost of bunkering, says Zhen Mao Choong, executive director of Singapore supplier Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services PTE Ltd.

"At the moment, LSFO appears to be the main marine fuel choice to comply with 2020. Even so, it is still unclear what variant of LSFO will be the mainstay," Choong said as part of a wider interview with Platts.

While some suppliers, such as Exxon, have made a point of saying all its own brand IMO2020 products will be cross compatible globally, the market as a whole is expected to see a wider variety of product compositions that will not necessarily be able to be mixed with each other.

The point was recently outlined in detail by Ara Barsamian, President/CEO, Refinery Automation Institute, LLC, who writing for Ship & Bunker last week highlighted that the ISO8217 spec alone was unable to determine these compatibility issues.

"We are currently doing a study to understand how to better utilize our bunker barges. Some LSFO specs are likely to be similar. So, the same barge could be used for them," said Choong.

"However, a lot of products will vary different in viscosity and specifications and different barges will be required."

The net result could be an impact to barge turnaround times, and ultimately, higher bunkering costs.