CPCL prepares marine fuel with low sulphur content in line with IMO norms

Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL), a group company of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), has successfully prepared one batch of the new marine fuel as per Indian Maritime Organization (IMO) norms and is ready to supply it to the market.

The IMO has enforced a new 0.5 per cent sulphur content cap on marine fuel from January 1, 2020 from the earlier level of 3.5 per cent in response to heightening environmental concerns from emissions contributed from ships.

CPCL is ready to manufacture nearly 5,000 tonnes of new marine fuel every month, said a company official. Production can be increased depending up on the demand, he said.

An official at IOC said that the company currently procures the new marine fuel from the Paradip refinery, and supplies to ships at all major ports. However, depending on the rate offered by CPCL, it will decide on procuring from the Chennai-based refinery, the official added.

Vessels that use higher-sulphur fuel oil must have special pollution control systems in place to reduce sulphur emissions.

Meanwhile, the consistent implementation of IMO 2020 was enhanced from March 1 with the entry into force of a rule to ban the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil.

The complementary MARPOL amendment prohibits the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship — unless the ship has an approved exhaust gas cleaning system (scrubber) fitted.

The amendment is an additional measure to support implementation and compliance and provide a means to effective enforcement particularly by State control, says IMO newsletter.

It is not just IOC and CPCL that manufacture the new marine fuel. HPCL commenced delivery of fuel for ships that are compliant with IMO low sulphur mandate from January.

IMO regulations

A whitepaper on Fueling the Maritime Sector – IMO 2020 and Beyond prepared by FICCI-KPMG MARPOL in July 2019 said that the new IMO regulations apply to ships of all sizes belonging to Flag States, including India, that are signatories to the Convention.

Ships of 400 gross tonnage and above that undertake voyages to ports or offshore terminals are required to have an International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate, issued by the ship’s Flag State.

Bunker fuels — generic term given to any fuel poured into a ship’s bunkers to power its engines — demand at Indian ports is about 1 per cent of the global demand. Majority of the demand comes from defence ships, domestic vessels, coastal vessels and a small portion of international ships calling at Indian ports.

On an average, 27,000 ships call at Indian ports and this number is expected to grow by 7 per cent, the report said.