Fuel testing data appears to show the IMO 2020 transition has led to a drop in off-specification fuels. File Image / Pixabay
VLSFO blends -- treated as something of an unknown quantity since the IMO 2020 transition -- are now consistently coming with lower off-spec rates than the historical ones for both HSFO and MGO, according to testing firm VPS.
In 2021 of the samples sent to the company just 4% of the VLSFOs were off-specification on at least one property, Jack Grogan, senior account manager at VPS, said at IBIA's Bunkering & Shipping in Transition Conference on Wednesday.
That compares with a 14% off-specification rate for HSFO in 2021, a 14-16% historical rate for HSFO and a 9-10% historical rate for MGO.
"VLSFO is actually on-spec more often than gasoil, which is considered a higher-quality product," Grogan said.
"The overall message is that these are good fuels.
"The things you have to watch are the cold flow properties and destabilisation."
Of the VLSFO samples coming in as off-specification for sulfur content, the 'vast majority' are now falling in the 0.50-0.53% gap, Grogan said.
"Sulfur levels above 0.53% are actually pretty rare now in our system," he said.