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Maritime News

Shifts in Marine Fuel Oil Demand Looming

The 2020 deadline on the implementation of low sulphur marine fuels is already shifting things around in the shipping market, although up until now, most shipowners, in Hellas at least, are shying away from any major changes in their fleet, until they get a better grasp of things. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Gibson expressed the view that scrubbers are difficult to be seen as a long-term solution compliance-wise. “Much debate has raged over how shipowners will fuel their vessels come 2020 when the IMO mandated 0.5% sulphur cap comes into force. We have discussed this at length and maintain our view that scrubbers will only play a minor role by the implementation date. With that view in mind, there will be a significant demand shift across the barrel in less than two years’ time. Fuel oil trade will be fundamentally affected”, Gibson said.

According to Gibson, “for tankers in the fuel oil trade this may of course seem alarming to see such large volumes of fuel oil demand stripped from the market. Yet, VLSFO will be carried on dirty tankers, reducing the demand shift to clean from dirty products to 1 million b/d. Furthermore, the IEA estimate that from 2020 to 2023, VLSFO will claw back market share from MGO, with eventual VLSFO demand of approximately 2 million b/d, complimented by 1 million b/d of ‘scrubbed’ (or non-compliant?) HSFO demand. In effect, this returns the clean/dirty bunker demand split to where it was prior to 2020, but with VLSFO having taken share from HSFO”.

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