Floating Fuel Hoard off Singapore Growing As 2020 Ship Shake Up Nears

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As traders stockpile fuel ahead of the biggest transition in the shipping industry, more than 30 oil tankers have anchored in the Malacca Strait off Singapore and Malaysia, reports Bloomberg.

Kpler’s estimate

The flotilla has been expanding for months as traders amass supplies of fuel that comply with new shipping IMO 2020 standards that take effect January 1. 

In April, Kpler estimated that at least five vessels laden with low-sulfur fuel oil and blending components were sitting off Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ship re-fueling ports.

Cleaner burning fuel

IMO 2020 rules require ships to be powered by cleaner-burning fuel with less than 0.5% sulfur, compared with current industry norms of over 3%. 

Traders and bunker oil suppliers have been scrambling to secure fuels that can meet the new specifications, or create a blend comprising oil such as gasoil, low-sulfur fuel oil, low-sulfur crude oil, high-sulfur fuel oil and other components.

Cruded hoarded on tankers in the Strait

Crude oil grades such as Australia’s Pyrenees, Vincent, Stag and Barrow Island, Brazil’s Atlanta and Ostra Blend, Congo’s Emeraude Blend, North Sea’s Clair and Thailand’s Wassana are also being hoarded on tankers in the Strait, according to data-intelligence firm Kpler.

Floating Storage

More IMO 2020-compliant fuel is being stored on ships near Singapore

Ship fuel floating in the strait

Almost 4.5 million tonnes of IMO 2020 compliant fuels were floating off the Malaysian ports of Tanjung Pelepas and Sunggai Linggi as of October 16, making up three-quarters of total ship-fuels floating in the strait, according to Kpler. That’s a 16% rise from October 4.

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Source: Bloomberg

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