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Scorpio Bulkers: ‘We continue to evaluate scrubbers’

24 Jul 2018

New York-listed dry bulk shipping firm Scorpio Bulkers says it is still evaluating the feasibility of using scrubbers to meet the upcoming marine fuel sulphur limit starring 2020.

“We continue to evaluate scrubbers. I think most in the community admit now or agree that the case for scrubbers is more compelling the larger the ship size, whether it's containers wet or dry,” said Cameron Mackey, COO at Scorpio Bulkers, during an earnings call as quoted by Seeking Alpha.

“We continue to look at them but we haven't yet gotten to the point where we feel that's a good use of capital for Scorpio Bulkers.

“That has to do both with the technology and technological risks, regulatory risks, and most importantly for smaller vessel sizes the availability of HFO in, call them secondary or tertiary bunkering ports post 2020.

“There may be a point where it becomes compelling but it isn't to us today. But as and when we get closer to 2020 we'll see how the facts on the ground change.”

According to Mackey, the availability of different fuels will be and what their relative pricing will be post 2020 “is a very mixed bag”.

“Many believe that the spread, which comes somewhere in the high 300s will expand materially as we get towards 2020,” he says.

“I would caution, however, that there are a number of blended products coming to market, which in certain circumstances could be quite useful substitute for distil it, post 2020 — post regulatory rollout.”

Meanwhile, he believes “it's still very, very much in question” on how the market will adjust itself both in terms of pricing, availability and physical supply come 2020.

“I think the early adoption of larger ship types — the big container ships, the larger bulk carriers, the large tankers obviously give us a good feeling about availability in some key global ports,” he explains.

“There is sort of a positive exponentially that is developing around fuel availability. It looks quite good.

“But when you get into smaller ships that have to bunker in areas way off that those main trade routes, it's still very, very unknown and uncertain whether the benefit of a scrubber can be realised because you won't be able to find any fuel.

“That is in doubt, the environment is changing rapidly and we're watching it.”

Published: 25 July, 2018

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