Having been “upgrading” high-sulphur products at its Sannazzaro refinery since 2013, Italian refiner Eni believes it is well placed to provide 0.5% sulphur fuel come 2020.
As well as at Sannazzaro, the company told IHS Markit that it can already produce new 0.5% sulphur products at several existing refineries. Combined with the capacity to desulphurise crude for further processing into low-sulphur product, this means it will be able to ramp up low-sulphur bunker fuel production to 1 million tonnes/year.
“We don’t imagine big problems in future availability of low-suphur bunkers,” it said, with product set to be on the market by the fourth quarter of 2019. “Our products will be available in the same ports where today Eni sells HSFO and marine diesel.”
Eni’s slurry technology enables the firm to produce the 0.1% sulphur fuel that is required within emission control areas (ECAs).
Regarding the compatibility issues that are concerning the shipping industry, Eni noted that its fuel would be stable, compliant with ISO 8217, and would follow the guidelines released by the ISO concerning different types of fuel, such as paraffinic and aromatic.
The company hinted at the possibility of significantly higher prices, noting that although the cost of purchasing fuel would be linked to market quotations at the time of sale, when crude was priced at USD140, the cost of bunker fuel was about USD700/tonne, close to the current diesel price.
Eni has also committed to continuing to produce heavy fuel oil in order to “satisfy customers that have decided to install scrubber technology on their ships”.