The IMO's so-called 2020 sulphur cap mandates that ships run on fuel containing no more than 0.5% m/m of sulphur, unless they have a scrubber installed or any equivalent measure adopted. The current limit is 3.5% m/m.

In this context, Woodmac forecasts that just over 10% of marine fuel will be scrubbed in 2020 when the regulations kick in, Reuters reported.

It also anticipates compliance with the regulation to be at 85% in 2020, rising to full compliance by 2025.

Meanwhile, the use of LNG in shipping will increase 70% between 2019 and 2020, which will displace 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of marine fuels in 2020, the consultant added.

Additionally, Woodmac estimates availability of very low-sulphur fuel oil at 1.4 million bpd in 2020 and 1.7 million bpd in 2024.

Refining margins are expected to rise across the board in 2020, but the big winners will be deep conversion refineries, with units to convert heavy residues to lighter, more valuable products, and refineries that focus on production of distillates, Woodmac noted.