Historically, it has been really common the bunker deals to be concluded based on a combination of personal relationships and price levels. However, with various blended fuels expected to hit the market as a result of the new IMO regulation, ExxonMobil Marine says quality is the factor that will matter most in the post 2020 era.
In an interview, Luca Volta, Marine Fuels Venture Manager at ExxonMobil said that the company has invested in an holistic IMO-2020 offering which is based on quality and it has already started to pay off. Volta adds, this is because customers do not simply need 0.5% sulfur fuels; but they need the right 0.5% sulfur fuels.
According to Volta, bunker fuels of ExxonMobil are produced according to the most updated ISO 8217:2017 specification and in accordance with the clause 5 of the said specifications – they are fit for purpose. Several fuel tests are taking place well in advance In order for the company to ensure fuel’s compatibility, ensure the existence of low cat fines as well as to find out the combustion properties of the fuel. All these parameters are taking an increasing priority for customers and ExxonMobil responds to them with the use of advanced technology.
Apart from the quality of the fuel, quality of the offered services is becoming very important as well and will become even more important in 2020, Volta says. In this regards, ExxonMobil is taking steps to eliminate intermediaries and sell its products directly to end-customers, in an effort to control the overall supply chain. Ahead of the IMO 2020, the most important thing for a shipowner is the reliability of the service that bunker suppliers are offering, Volta mentions.
Going forward, “trust” will become a more important factor when shipowners are about to conclude a bunker fuel purchase, ExxonMobil believes. Branded fuels which can offer quality assurances will lead the competition and ExxonMobil has taken steps into this direction.
To achieve its efforts, the company says it has put technology at the core of its overall operations. Technology plays a major role from the initial stage of the crude production, where advanced technology is used to formulate compliant and compatible fuels and lubricants, to the final stage of the fuel delivery and consumption, where the company offers the Mobil Serv Cylinder Condition Monitoring which asseses the fuel consumed and the engine condition.
ExxonMobil’s new approach is a sign that the bunkering market is changing and it is expected to be much more different in the post-2020 era than what it is today.