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The Journey to 2020  

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated a global 0.50% cap on the maximum level of sulphur in marine fuel. This new cap represents a significant reduction – down from the current 3.50% limit – and presents the marine industry with compliance challenges.

Starting from 1 January, 2020, vessel operators will need to use a compliant fuel, or have a scrubber fitted if they wish to continue burning high-sulphur fuel oil. This ruling does not affect Emission Control Areas (ECAs), where a 0.10% sulphur fuel is still required.

ExxonMobil anticipates that the vast majority of the industry will choose a low-sulphur fuel to meet the new IMO 2020 cap. However, there is no single route to compliance. Options include:

  • New low-sulphur fuels, including ExxonMobil’s range of EMF.5™ Engineered Marine Fuels
  • Low-sulphur distillates such as marine gas oil (MGO)
  • Premium Emission Control Area (ECA) fuels
  • The continued use of high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) in conjunction with a scrubber
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

Operators will need to make their decisions on a vessel-by-vessel basis. Determining the most effective option will be based on an evaluation of factors such as vessel type, route, age and engine. ExxonMobil will also supply a complementary range of cylinder and engine oils. These will include:

  • Mobilgard™ 540, a new 40BN formulation for vessels using low-sulphur fuels
  • Mobilgard™ M420, a newly formulated 20BN Trunk Piston Engine Oil (TPEO)
  • A high-BN cylinder oil for vessels using a scrubber
  • An ultra-low-BN grade for vessels using LNG

Successful compliance with the IMO 2020 emission regulation requires more than fuel selection – preparation for the switchover is also essential.

Initially, some fuel types may be scarce. Vessel operators will therefore need to plan their bunkering in advance as we move from fuel procurement to fuel management. As a result of fuel choice, operators may need to revisit their cylinder oil selection.

The engineered advantage

Our EMF.5™ – Engineered Marine Fuels offer an engineered advantage, helping vessel operators comply safely and efficiently with the International Maritime Organization's 0.50% sulphur cap without compromising on quality and performance.

Explore the benefits ›
Mobilgard 540 cylinder oil is engineered for compliance for vessels operating on 0.50% sulphur fuels under the IMO 2020 emission regulations.

Insights from industry leaders

With less than 6 months until the IMO 0.50 per cent sulphur regulation comes into force, ExxonMobil is bringing the industry together. In our Talking Points series, we speak with marine experts about 2020-focused topics including routes to IMO compliance, fuel solutions and more.

Check out the playlist feature to watch the first four videos in the Talking Points series, shot at the Ports of Hamburg, Southampton and Singapore.

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