Owing to its booming shale industry, the United States is likely to become an important supplier of low-sulphur marine fuels ahead of major new emissions regulations in 2020, Vienna-based consultancy JBC Energy said on Monday.
“The (United States) is likely to emerge as a strong supplier of compliant fuels in the coming quarters in the context of the IMO sulphur spec switch,” said JBC.
The U.N. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is introducing new rules on marine fuels from 2020, limiting their sulphur content to 0.5 percent, from 3.5 percent currently, to curb pollution produced by the world’s ships.
Fuel oil with a less than 1 percent sulphur content has averaged well over 32 percent of total U.S. fuel oil supply in the last three months of data compared to just some 26 percent last year, said JBC citing Energy Information Administration data.
The IMO’s sulphur cap is expected to prompt refiners to boost processing of lighter crude grades, like U.S. shale oil, because they produce cleaner, low-sulphur fuels.