On January 01, 2020, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced new regulations to lower the sulphur cap on marine fuels, reducing the global limit from 3.5% to 0.50%. This is designed to significantly curb pollution produced by ships worldwide.
Six months into the implementation of the new specifications for Very Low Sulphur Heavy Fuel Oil (VLSHFO), Petrojam Limited is reporting success in its transition to supplying this new grade of marine fuel.
General Manager of Petrojam, Winston Watson explained that as the main player in the local market for Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), Petrojam prepared methodically for this switchover. 'We have been in preparation mode (for this switchover) for close to two years and so the transition was relatively smooth, with very few glitches,' he noted.
'We had a plan in place to be able to produce the material from the refinery and in fact started the production and sale of this product in mid-December well before the deadline,' he continued.
The Petrojam GM said that despite the challenges anticipated by JPS' conversion to LNG and changes in the quality requirements for the bunker market, from 3% to 0.5% sulphur, Petrojam recalibrated its business model to ensure continued supply reliability and commercial viability.
'It's been more than six months into our supplying this new grade of fuel and we are quite pleased with the level of sales we have been realizing; and despite COVID-19, we do anticipate that these will increase as time progresses,' the Petrojam GM noted.
The new 0.50% sulphur limit is said to create higher risks of fuel incompatibility. However, Mr. Watson notes that the company has introduced stringent measures at every level of the production process to ensure that the quality specifications are met. 'So far, we have received commendations from all of our bunker customers on the high quality of the product,' said Winston Watson.
'Over the years, Petrojam has consistently responded to local and international regulatory changes as they occur and has been successful in implementing these changes in a manner that satisfies all the considerations,' he added.
The IMO projects a 77% reduction in overall sulphur oxide emissions from ships, an annual reduction of around 8.5 million metric tonnes as a result of the new emission regulations.
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