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IEA: IMO 2020 regulations to cause ‘massive switch’

06 Mar 2018

Global energy analysis organisation International Energy Agency (IEA) believes the upcoming sulphur cap for marine fuel will impose a “huge” challenge for stakeholders.

“One of the biggest and most pressing issues is the implementation of major changes to marine fuel specifications mandated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO),” it said in the Oil 2018 – Analysis and Forecasts to 2023 report.

“The new rules loom ever closer and the maritime and refining industries face a huge challenge to implement them.”

IEA was unclear how successful implementation of the 0.5% global sulphur cap for marine fuel will turn out against a background of current increasing demand for non-marine gasoil grades.

“The new regulations will cause a massive switch out of high sulphur fuel oil demand and into marine gasoil or a new very low sulphur fuel oil,” it says.

“The total demand for oil products will not be dramatically altered, but the impact of the changes on the product mix is a major uncertainty in our forecast.”

Meanwhile, IEA notes of the journey to 2023 to be starting from a "relatively comfortable" place.

“An overhang in global oil stocks has all but disappeared and oil prices have recovered,” it explains.

“The oil price rally has rewarded those taking part in output cuts and has also unleashed a new wave of growth from the United States.

“Coupled with gains from Brazil, Canada, and Norway, oil markets now look adequately supplied through 2020. There is no call for complacency, however, and more investment is needed now to ensure secure supplies to meet robust demand growth.”

Published: 6 March, 2018

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