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            june 16, 2019

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The 5th Track Maintenance And Data Utilisation Summit

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Scrubbers and low sulphur fuel have their well-reasoned advocates


Little indication emerges from a recent survey on the future of the two different compliance options - scrubbers or low sulphur fuel - when the UN's low sulphur fuel rule comes into force.
The UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 0.5 per cent sulphur cap will enter into force in 15 months' time.
The choice is pay high price to install a scrubber and continue to use cheap heavy fuel oil (HFO). Or avoid the scrubber's front-end cost and pay for the expensive low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) from the start.
But this calculation has a here-today-gone-tomorrow aspect as oil prices change. Add to that, there is the looming question of supply.
If low sulphur fuels comes to dominate, will the now plentiful heavy fuel oil become scarce as refineries turn to low sulphur fuel production en masse because that is the only fuel selling in quantity?
"More fuel will be refined to meet the demand for 0.5 per cent blends, so the availability of HFO may decrease," said Wartsila Marine Solutions general manager Teus Beek.
Nishant Dhyani, fleet efficiency manager, China Navigation Company said in time most would switch to a compliant fuel.
"It is an easy way out. Instead of buying HFO, companies will start buying low sulphur fuel oil. There is no modification or changes required on the vessels," said Mr Dhyani.
Such questions are raised in the survey conducted by London's Vessel Performance Optimisation (VPO), which canvassed various industry members about the current scrubber market and the adoption of the technology for 2020 compliance.
According to the Exhaust Gas Cleaning System Association (EGCSA), there are 983 scrubbers installed or on order. Despite some criticism that scrubbers are not a long-term solution, the market is still growing, reported VPO.
Last month Safe Bulkers announced the plan to install scrubbers on half of its fleet. DHT confirmed this week a US$50 million financial investment for scrubber retrofits and International Seaways said it would install scrubbers across its very large crude carrier (VLCC) fleet.
VPO said that 2017 was a slow year for scrubbers after a surge in installations prior to 2015 when the 0.1 per cent cap on sulphur was implemented in Emission Control Areas (ECAs).

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