New oil refining capacity and an increase in the number of ships using scrubbers, will enable marine fuel markets to a balance after new sulphur regulations come into force, Goldman Sachs mentioned. Namely, the bank said that ships with scrubbers are expected to retain a third of current high-sulphur fuel in compliant use.
As the IMO has established global regulations, setting a cap to sulphur content in marine fuel at 0.5% from 2020, shipowners must find ways to comply. As the bank said, ships without scrubbers will have to use more expensive low-sulphur fuels.
Thus, Goldman Sachs expects scrubber installations to increase quickly and ships with this technology to keep a third of current high-sulphur fuel in compliant use.
As Reuters reports, shippers as well as refiners did not start strong in making investment decisions to comply with the upcoming sulphur cap, because of the uncertainty regarding the rules and costs of compliance.
Now, Goldman predicts that scrubber installations will be 3,125 in 2020 and 4,450 in 2022, while scrubbed high-sulphur fuel oil consumption will be at a total of 1 million barrels per day by 2020 and 1.4 mpbd by 2025. In addition, the shipping industry burned a total of 3.3 million barrels per day of high-sulfur marine fuels in 2017.
According to the bank, at an 80% compliance rate, the market can balance at a distillate-HSFO spread near current forwards, although at higher distillate cracks.
Nevertheless, due to the new regulation, costs may vary with global growth and oil prices.