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Preparing for IMO 2020 and The Future of Bunkering: Strategic Implications


FGE’s 15th Annual Assessment of the Bunker Fuels Market. 

FGE’s detailed assessment looks in-depth at the future of bunkering, with a deep dive on the upcoming IMO bunker specification changes. We use our proprietary bottom-up supply and demand models as a foundation for examining the options available to both shippers, refiners and bunker suppliers, as well as the likely overall outcomes of these changes in unparalleled depth.

On January 1, 2020, the IMO (International Maritime Organization) will be implementing a cap on the amount of sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships (without exhaust gas cleaning systems—or scrubbers). This upcoming bunker specification change will be the biggest upheaval the refining and shipping industries have ever faced. Indeed, it will have an impact on everyone involved in the supply of fuel oils, from crude oil producers to traders and terminal operators.

Grappling with shifting regulations, changing fuels, and new technologies, it is imperative that ship-owners, refiners, and other key stakeholders along the marine fuel supply chain stay at the forefront of market analysis and understanding. The capital budgeting decisions made today need to be seen in the context of not only 2020 but also for the next 15-20 years.

In a world where there is no “one size fits all” solution, FGE’s analytical approach looks to move the debate forward. Market-leading oil market expertise and an understanding of the refining sector and fuel specifications are married to an in-depth analysis of the implications for the shipping industry, providing a holistic perspective.

Scope of Coverage

Implications for Refiners and Bunker Suppliers

Coverage of key areas of concern for refiners and bunker suppliers in light of the upcoming specification changes.

  • To what extent will the IMO specification changes impact the refining sector?
  • Impact of IMO on downstream oil product balances - shift in refinery yields required to balance the market.
  • HSFO disposal – Will there be a surplus of fuel oil? If so, where can it go?
  • Refinery investments and upgrading.
  • Global oil demand by product/sector.
  • Global refining capacity changes (to 2025).
  • Long-term crude price and quality outlook.
  • Who are the winners and losers?
  • Analysis of changing supply chain and look at the strategy of big players.
Implications for the Shipping Sector:

Main areas of concern facing the shipping sector in light of the upcoming specification changes:

  • What is the proposed outcome? Will shipping companies opt for near-term quick solutions such as:
    • Using VLSFO (very-low sulphur fuel oil) or marine gasoil (MGO),
    • Installing exhaust gas cleaning systems (also known as scrubbers) and running HSFO (high sulphur fuel oil),
    • Running other fuels such as LPG, LNG and Methanol.
  • VLSFO supply, demand, and pricing outlook
  • HSFO supply, demand, and pricing outlook
  • Will new ships now come with scrubbers by default?
  • Scenarios around scrubber uptake vs. compliance and its impact on the bunker fuel demand slate
  • Availability, cost and price of alternative fuels (LNG and LPG)
  • Part 1: Background and Revisions to Our Outlook
  • Part 2: Overview of IMO Ruling and Evaluation of Ship-Owners’ Options Post-2020
  • Part 3: Prices and Economics of Scrubbers and Alternative Bunker Fuels for 2020
  • Part 4: Global Fuel Availability
  • Part 5: Implications for Refiners and Bunker Suppliers
  • Part 6: Implications for Global Crude and Product Markets
  • Part 7: HSFO Disposal - Global Oil Use in the Power Generation Sector
  • Part 8: IMO 2050: Long-Term Global Bunker Fuel Demand Outlook


Interested in finding out more?

Further information on this study can be found by downloading our latest brochure.


Download Brochure


  • PDF copy of the report (in PowerPoint format).
  • Extensive supplementary excel data sets:
    • Scrubber adoption by vessel size and forecast;
    • IMO Compliance Database - vessel class, owner and propulsion system;
    • Forecast of HSFO, MGO/MDO, VLSFO/ULSFO, LNG & LPG demand;
    • Forecast of HSFO, MGO/MDO, VLSFO/ULSFO, LNG & LPG supply;
    • Database of VLSFO/ULSFO availability by Port and Supplier;
    • LNG bunker vessel database and port availability;
    • Refining capacity changes by secondary unit, as well as location;
    • Forecast of refinery margins (in key refining centers), product prices and product differentials.
  • FGE consultants will be available to discuss the findings of the report either by telephone/WebEx or similar facilities

This Study will add value to


  • Making capital budgeting decisions on their existing fleet as well as investments in new technologies and propulsion systems 


  • Examining fuel procurement strategies and seeking to manage fuel price/quality risk


  • Assessing the impact on their own margin economics in 2020 and beyond and the demand for marine bunker fuels

Storage/Terminal Operators

  • Preparing terminal operations ahead of 2020 as well as understanding the competitor landscape for bunkering operations.

Bunker Fuel Suppliers/Traders

  • Investigating the pricing of fuels ahead of 2020 to understand blending economics

Crude Oil Traders

  • Reviewing opportunities/risk management strategies across the barrel in 2020, as well as shifting crude trade patterns

Crude Oil Producers

  • Looking at sweet/sour and light/heavy differentials


  • Considering investment opportunities and returns on investment around IMO 2020 and beyond

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Further Information

If you require additional information on this or any FGE service, including requesting a trial, or you would like to discuss ways in which FGE can assist you further, please contact a member of our sales team:

Mr. Robert Beckmann - Singapore

Head of Business Development
Tel: +65 6222 0045

Email Robert

Mr. Edo Ndeke - London

Business Development Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7726 9570

Email Edo

Mr. Farhan Sulaiman - Singapore

Business Development Manager
Tel: +65 6222 0045

Email Farhan

Mr. Lance Ruxton - London

Business Development Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7726 9570

Email Lance

Ms. Iren Naseri - Dubai, UAE

Business Development Manager
Tel: +971 4 457 4270

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Mr. TJ Braziel - Houston, TX

Business Development Manager
Tel: +1 (281) 819 1983

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