The ports of Genoa, Venice and Livorno will have clean bunker oil by 2020
Profumo (Iplom) assured the production and distribution of low sulphur fuel for ships within October 2019, though at higher prices
January the 1st 2020 will be a turning point for maritime transport worldwide as the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) regulation providing for vessels to use fuels with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% (compared to the current 3.5%) will enter into force.
The new bunker fuel to purchase will be a distillate very similar to diesel, besides the other two alternatives, i.e. LNG (liquefied natural gas) or scrubbers.
As the new regulation will enter into force (worldwide) in 16 months, several experts are wondering if and where this clean fuel will be available, and at what price.
Iplom, the company managing the refinery in Busalla (Genoa), will provide an answer to both questions by supplying at least three Italian ports with the necessary bunker. In a press release recently issued about the renegotiation of the debt with banks, Iplom revealed that it produces “all oil products at low environmental impact” and that it is “one of the few refineries producing bitumen left. From 2020, we will be among the few refineries producing bunker fuel oil with 0.5% of sulphur, in compliance with the new international IMO regulations, which we believe will be used above all in the port of Genoa”.
Therefore, Genoa will probably be the first Italian port supplied with naval fuel at low sulphur content, though not the only one since the refinery's managing director Giorgio Profumo explained to Ship2Shore that “besides Genoa, we plan to supply also Livorno and Venice”. However, not via oil pipeline because the product will be “transported by tanker or by railway”, the Genoese entrepreneur added.
Iplom's managing director also explained that “the fuel oil will be produced with special raw fuels kept segregated and fluxed with cuts of the new Autoil plant created to produce diesel fuels and fuels without sulphur”. More precisely, the new bunker will be available “from October 2019”, but it will be more expensive than the one provided at present because, at the current oil price levels (70 dollars per barrel), Profumo estimates costs for shipowners of “approximately 500 dollars per ton”. For example, in the port of Genoa naval bunker (at a higher sulphur content) is currently sold at 300-350 dollars per ton.