In fact, China marked a record since shipments began a year ago, as Chinese oil refineries began exporting very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) in January in an effort to follow the IMO emission rules.

As Reuters added, exports of VLSFO with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%, were 2.47 million tonnes during December, nearly double the volume than November.

In addition, fuel oil imports into bonded storage, which includes both high-sulphur and low-sulphur materials, were 1.03 million tonnes in December, steady to November, and annual imports totalled 11.48 million tonnes.

As explained, despite a surge in domestic production, Chinese companies managed to maintain imports of less expensive low-sulphur cargoes from Singapore for re-export.

Concluding, in late December, China issued 5 million tonnes of clean marine fuel export quotas in the first release for 2021 to five companies including private refiner Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp.