According to Reuters, the Italian energy provider is investing in infrastructure that will allow ships to dock outside its 300,000-barrels-per-day Sarroch refinery in Sardinia to directly load ultra-low-sulphur marine fuel oil (ULSFO).

Furthermore, Saras CEO Dario Scaffardi reported that for the time being, bunkering is based mainly on blending. In the Mediterranean, different fuels are brought in Malta and are blended together.

With the new specs, blending will be very difficult to achieve for technical reasons. Therefore, Saras will develop their own ULSFO that the company will start marketing directly to shippers and the plant will initially produce 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes of ULSFO per year.

From the beginning of 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will implement a sulphur cap that will prohibit the carriage of fuel oil with a sulphur content above 0.5 percent, compared with 3.5 percent now, a huge step to improve shipping's environmental footprint that will have a huge impact upon the oil market.