Forty percent of the world’s fuel oil - the residual oil left over after extracting lighter products from crude oil - is used as bunker oil to power Ocean going vessels. Much of that fuel has relatively high sulfur content. Given that refineries sell fuel oil for less than the cost of crude – the bunkers market has traditionally been a convenient dumping ground for unwanted high sulfur residual fuel oil. New international regulations that came into force in 2012 drastically reduce the permitted sulfur content in bunkers after 2015 in the world’s populated coastal regions. Today we describe the impact the new rules could have on refiners.
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