"Fog" Surrounds Performance of low Sulfur Fuels

Tuesday February 5, 2019

The bunker market is in a "fog" over the performance of new low sulfur fuels, price reporting agency Argus Media has said.

While new fuels, which conform to the IMO 0.5% sulfur cap on bunker fuel, are being tested, results from those tests are not widely available.

"The fact that owners that have already tried some of the fuels cannot report the results because of non-disclosure agreements keeps the market in a fog," said Argus Media in a recent commentary.

In a separate commentary, the agency noted that BP, Shell and ExxonMobil are trialling 0.5% bunker fuel blends.

Sources indicated to Ship & Bunker that some independent suppliers were already underway with trials during IP Week last year.

"New 0.5% blends are likely to be on offer to buyers for testing purposes for the remainder of this year, although marine fuel engine testers say few samples have been available so far," according to Argus.

However, Italian refiner Eni "plans to make samples of a 0.5% fuel with vacuum gasoil (VGO) qualities available by the end of this year, which may encourage other refiners to follow suit," the agency added.

VGO is a by-product of the refining process and used as feedstock.