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Saudi Aramco not shifting crude production to lighter grades for IMO 2020

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Aramco is not planning any changes in oil export grades to favor lighter, sweeter crudes as demand for lower sulfur oil is expected to rise in response to the International Maritime Organization's new regulations on marine fuels, the head of the company's upstream operations said Tuesday.

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"We are steady in what we produce. There is no change," Mohammed al-Qahtani said on the sidelines of the International Petroleum Technology Conference in Saudi Arabia.

The IMO's new rule, which went into effect January 1, cuts the amount of sulfur in fuel that ships are allowed to burn to 0.5%, unless the ship has a scrubber installed.

The regulation is expected to boost demand for lighter and sweeter crudes.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of crude, plans to pump 9.744 million b/d in January and February, its energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said Monday at the conference.