Trump administration may struggle to obstruct IMO 2020

The International Maritime Organization is much like the large commercial ships it regulates in one respect: while slow to get moving in the first place, it can be difficult to stop once its inertia has been overcome. This is the problem the US delegation at the UN body may face at a key meeting being held October 22-26, if it seeks to put obstacles in the way of tighter marine fuel sulfur emission limits. The IMO’s global sulfur cap is due to drop from 3.5% to 0.5% at the start of 2020, with wide-ranging consequences for the shipping and oil industries, and late on Thursday the Wall Street Journal quoted a White House source as saying the US would seek to “mitigate the impact of precipitous fuel-cost increases on consumers.” The tighter sulfur cap is being forecast to add several dollars to the oil price from 2020 as refiners increase crude runs to maximize middle distillate output and meet the new marine demand for cleaner fuels. The US may be baulking at the prospect of that crude increase, particularly as it could come in the middle of its next presidential election campaign. The oil market appears to be reacting as… continue reading

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