Hectic times To say that there is a lot going on in the global business right now is a massive understatement. Every issue of World Bunkering seems to cover more urgent political and commercial issues while the old adage that necessity is the mother of invention certainly seems apt when it comes to our industry. Over the 12 years that I have edited World Bunkering I can’t remember so many possible items for our Innovation pages. I hope those that we have featured are particularly relevant. One new product is especially exciting, and also troubling. Small US-based technology company Green Framework has developed a machine, named the De-Sul, which it says turns high sulphur heavy fuel oil into a product complying with the upcoming 0.50% sulphur limit. The equipment is fitted on board the vessel. A silver bullet? Well it sounds a bit like the solution the industry has been waiting for. If so, scrubber manufacturers might be concerned. This is certainly one to watch. The need to comply with the sulphur limits coming into force in 2020 is rightly preoccupying the industry at present. This concern is reflected in most, if not all, of our pages in this issue which comes out in time for IBIA’s Annual Convention in Singapore in November. I hope that the in-depth analysis by Unni Einemo of the main regulatory issues will help inform discussion at Singapore. Unni has spent long hours at IMO following all the twists and turns on various important issues facing the industry. Right now we are looking apprehensively at 2020 but Unni also reports on the even more significant long term issue of greenhouse gas reduction.
On the topic of saving the planet Unni has also taken an in-depth look at bio-fuels. They certainly won’t provide that silver bullet, at least not in the short medium term, and there are many pitfalls when it comes to switching to this, potentially ‘greener’ source of energy. As Unni points out ‘bio’ does not necessarily mean ‘green’ in the environmentally friendly sense. Nevertheless, in the long term, it would be surprising if bio-fuels do not form a major part of the solution to shipping’s fuel dilemma. Regulatory pressure on the industry combines with commercial ones. As our feature on the Independents makes clear, the structure of the global bunker market has changed, and will change further. While the disastrous collapse of OW Bunker is now three years astern its effects are most definitively still with us. As the feature makes clear the failure of such a massive player has led to rethinking in boardrooms of players in all segments of the bunker markets. Perhaps one of the most interesting developments is the oil majors’ newly increased appetite to get involved again in the nuts and bolts of bunkering. That has got to be significant since it was their withdrawal that kick started the bunker supply industry as we know it now. Our geographical features cover the Middle East and South-East Asia. These very different regions have unique characteristics but, again, the bunker industries in both are focused very much on what happens in 2020.
The only official magazine of IBIA, World Bunkering autumn 2017
In both regions LNG is being developed but the reality is that distillate or very low sulphur fuel oil is going to be needed in huge quantities. This issue will also be available during London International Shipping Week (LISW) when IBIA is organising a forum on, guess what?, “How will the IMO regulate the 2020 Global Sulphur Cap?” We will be there of course but will also be keeping an eye on the many other events taking place during LISW which cover topics of concern to our industry. And then of course there is the Convention in November. The World Bunkering team look forward to seeing you there.
David Hughes Editor 3
Inside this issue: What happens in 2020? Bio-fuels - a long term solution? Do we still need bunker surveyors?