IMO2020: Scrubber Users Advised to Secure Their HSFO Supply

Monday March 19, 2018

Ships planning to use scrubbers for their IMO2020 compliance route should secure their supply of HSFO bunkers, delegates gathered at the Connecticut Maritime Association Shipping 2018 event have heard.

When the new global 0.50% sulfur cap on marine fuel comes into force from January 1, 2020 the majority of vessels are expected to switch to burning compliant distillate products.

The demand shift will means there will be a rationalization of the HSFO supply chain and, as Olivier Jouny, Managing Director, Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions, previous explained to Ship & Bunker: "In the key hubs the demand will be there and we will continue to offer both 0.5% and the higher sulfur products after 2020. But in the smaller ports, choices will have to be made."

But writing in a report from Shipping 2018, the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) said the magnitude of the HSFO/MGO demand shift could be greater then previously estimated, with Visa Lab founder Dr. Vis among those predicting in 2020 there could be around 2,000 scrubber equipped vessels accounting for around 11 million metric tonnes (mt) of HSFO demand.

This is a far cry from IMO's original estimate in its official fuel availability study that predicted 3,800 scrubber equipped vessels creating some 36 million mt of HSFO demand.

But even if the desire was there, given there are an estimated 400-600 scrubbers currently installed as of today, Intertek ShipCare Services' Michael Green questioned whether docking schedules would even allow the figure to hit 4,000 by 2020.

With a rationalization of the HSFO supply chain potentially even greater than previously thought then, the advise from Shipping 2018 speakers including John Stirling, Marine Technical Quality Manager, World Fuel Services, and John R. LaRese, Marine Fuels Technical Advisor, ExxonMobil Marketing & Refining: owners fitting scrubbers need to go to suppliers and secure term contracts for ongoing HSFO supply.