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Price Assessment

Bunker Fuel Price Assessment

  • How S&P Global Platts serves the bunker fuel and shipping industries
  • What grades of bunker fuel does Platts assess?
  • Related Publications
  • Subscriber Notes

How S&P Global Platts serves the bunker fuel and shipping industries

Marine fuels, or bunker fuels, are the primary energy source for the shipping industry. The market totals about 300 million mt/year worldwide, almost all of which is for refined oil products. Historically high sulfur fuel oil has been the dominant marine fuel, with cleaner marine gasoil used in port, but tightening emissions regulations for shipping have fragmented the market. The main marine fuel types are as follows:


High sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) – 3.5% sulfur fuel oil. The main type of HSFO currently used by the shipping industry has a viscosity of 380 CST, but 180 CST, 500 CST, and 700 CST grades are also widely used. From the start of 2020, the sulfur content in HSFO will be too high to comply with the new 0.5% global limit, but vessels equipped with emissions-cleaning scrubber equipment will be able to continue using it.

Marine gasoil (MGO) – A middle distillate product similar to heating oil. The sulfur content is typically 0.1% but varies worldwide according to local laws. In the past, MGO was mainly used only in port, but demand increased in 2015 as emission control areas (ECAs) in North America and Northwest Europe reduced their sulfur limit to 0.1%.

Marine fuels 0.5%, is a new blend of fuel designed for use worldwide once the global sulfur limit drops to that level in January 2020. A wide range of these blends is likely to emerge with varying specifications.

We publish granular price information on a daily basis of use to buyers, sellers, and brokers of marine fuel. Prices published in Platts publications Bunkerwire and Bunkerworld are widely used as the benchmark in the shipping and bunker industries.

As well as bunker prices, Platts publications Bunkerwire and Bunkerworld cover daily industry and market news across all regions of the world. With the marine fuel sector undergoing the most significant regulatory shift to tighter emissions standards it has ever seen, quality real-time news and analysis of these changes is essential. As of January 2, 2019, S&P Global Platts launched a suite of new daily assessments for cargoes and barges around the globe for residual marine fuels that reflect a maximum sulfur limit of 0.5%.

What grades of bunker fuel does Platts assess?

Globally, Platts assesses five main grades of marine fuel, including three grades of Intermediate Fuel Oil (IFO). Platts currently assesses:

  • • IFO 180 centistoke (CST)
  • • IFO 380 CST
  • • IFO 500 CST
  • • Marine Diesel (MDO)
  • • Marine Gasoil (MGO)
  • • Marine fuel 0.5%

From the start of 2012, Platts has fully reflected revised bunker fuel specifications set out by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in global bunker fuel assessments.

Under the convention, high sulfur bunker fuel supplied at major global bunkering locations from 2012 onwards must contain a maximum of 3.5% sulfur, down from the previous maximum sulfur content of 4.5%. The worldwide market generally follows similar specifications for these grades in all locations.

From the start of 2015, the sulfur cap for bunker fuel used within Emission Control Area (ECA) zones was lowered to 0.1%, from 1% max previously. Platts assesses ultra-low sulfur bunker fuel of 0.1% in Rotterdam, New York and Houston. As of January 2, 2019, S&P Global Platts launched a suite of new daily assessments for cargoes and barges around the globe for residual marine fuels that reflect a maximum sulfur limit of 0.5%.


Methodology and Specifications

Methodology and Specifications
Methodology and Specifications

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