The Chinese oil conglomerate Sinopec, one of the largest refineries in the world, appears to have produced and shipped the first 0.5% sulfur fuels complying with the new IMO standards.
Specifically, during January 2019 Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Corp shipped 6,000 tons of the new bunker fuel. Later, on late February, a second refinery of Sinopec, which is based in Shanghai’s province of Hainan, shipped 2,200 tons of very low sulfur fuel, with destination the Ningo port of China. According to local news, the 0.5% bunker fuel produced by Sinopec refineries will be utilised for pilot use in a maritime institute of Shanghai, before they become available at the Chinese ports.
Sinopec’s refineries are not the only ones working on VLSFO grades. Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE), one of the largest oil producers of East Europe, which is based in Greece, has made a statement that two of its refineries, one in Thessaloniki and one in Elefsina, are already ready to produce compliant 0.5% sulfur fuels. Its third refinery, based in Aspropyrgos will also be ready on around November 2019, according to HELPE.
Furthermore, the port of Fujairah, which is a major bunkering hub, has notified the shipping community that compliant 0.5% sulfur fuels will be available at the port starting from the first quarter of 2019. In this case, Fujairah Refilling Limited, who will supply the port with the compliant bunker fuel, has already commenced its production.
As we are moving closer to the 1st January of 2020, when the regulation for the new 0.5% sulfur bunker fuels will come into force and all the vessels that are not equipped with scrubbers will be required to consume VLSFO only, the production and delivery of compliant fuels is expected to be extended in more and more ports around the world.