IMO 2020: Mayhem or opportunity?

How will IMO 2020 regulations affect oil prices? How will refiners respond? Find out more below about IMO 2020 and what it could mean for your business. Or download your copy of the quick guide to IMO 2020.

IMO 2020: Frequently asked questions

What is IMO 2020?

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has ruled that from 1 January 2020, marine sector emissions in international waters be slashed. The marine sector will have to reduce sulphur emissions by over 80% by switching to lower sulphur fuels. The current maximum fuel oil sulphur limit of 3.5 weight percent (wt%) will fall to 0.5 wt%. IMO 2020 regulations will see the largest reduction in the sulphur content of a transportation fuel undertaken at one time.

Why is everyone talking about a fuel specification?

The marine sector, which consumed 3.8 million barrels per day of fuel oil in 2017, is responsible for half of global fuel oil demand. IMO sulphur regulations therefore have the potential to be highly disruptive to the pricing and availability of compliant fuels.

Who will be affected by IMO 2020?

The costs of ocean going freight will increase as the marine sector uses more costly fuels, which has wide reaching consequences across the global economy. The impact could be felt from mid-2019 onwards and last for a few years, as the refining and shipping sectors adapt.

What does IMO 2020 mean for my business? 

Growing demand for middle distillates could result in upward price pressure on fuels such as diesel and jet fuel. Knock-on effects from the upcoming cap on sulphur emissions in marine bunker fuel could even wind up giving you a more expensive plane ticket in 2020. Get detailed analysis for your industry and sector below. 

  • 1 January 2020

    When IMO 2020 comes into force

  • 80%

    The total required reduction of sulphur

  • 3.5 wt%

    Current maximum fuel oil sulphur limit

  • 0.5 wt%

    New maximum fuel oil sulphur limit

IMO 2020 is just around the corner. Have you assessed the impact on your supply chain?

Understand how IMO standards will affect fuel markets and evaluate potential new opportunities with Wood Mackenzie. Trusted market intelligence across sectors, proprietary tools and expert analysis helps you plan and strategise for a post-IMO 2020 reality. Read on to find out more, or get your copy of the quick guide to IMO 2020

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IMO 2020 reports

It is rare that a fuel specification change could disrupt the oil value chain, but the International Maritime Organisation’s planned change to bunker fuel regulation may do just that.

Alan Gelder

VP Refining, Chemicals & Oil Markets

Alan is responsible for formulating our research outlook and cross-sector perspectives on the global downstream sector.

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IMO 2020

Updated analysis of the IMO 2020 marine fuel sulphur changes

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A close-up from underneath the connecting platform of an oil rig in the ocean.