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Trader Trafigura Beefs Up Crude Oil And Product Tanker Fleet

One of the world’s major independent commodity traders, Trafigura, has ordered 35 newbuild crude oil and product tankers that will be leased to the trading house with options to buy later, the company said in a statement.

The 35 tankers are being built in China and South Korea and include medium range (MR) tankers, long range tankers (LR2s), and Suezmax tankers.

The order “has been placed by a close Asian financial partner and the vessels are being leased on delivery to Trafigura with options to purchase at a later stage. Vessels are being delivered from today and throughout 2019, with the majority of vessels being delivered in the first quarter of 2019,” Trafigura said on Thursday.

“The super eco-efficient vessels are being built to the highest technical specifications which also meet the upcoming IMO 2020 regulations,” said Rasmus Bach Nielsen, Global Head of Wet Freight Shipping for Trafigura.

“Until 2020, the vessels will run on regular fuel, and from then onwards, whenever allowed (some ports do not allow usage of open loop scrubber), they will burn high sulphur fuel oil, which is possible due to the scrubber onboard each vessel,” a spokesman for Trafigura told Reuters on Friday.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set January 1, 2020, as the starting date from which only low-sulfur fuel oil will be allowed to be used for ships.

According to energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, shippers will need to either consider switching to alternative fuels, such as Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (ULSFO) or marine gas oil (MGO), or install scrubbers—a system that removes sulphur from exhaust gas emitted by bunkers.

“Installing scrubbers may be an economically attractive option,” Iain Mowat, senior research analyst, EMEARC refining and oil product markets, at Wood Mackenzie, said.

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“Although there is an initial investment, shippers can expect a rate of return of between 20% and 50% depending on investment cost, MGO-fuel oil spread and ships’ fuel consumption,” Mowat noted.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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