S&P Global Platts would like to clarify that the use of "hand blends" is considered a common practice within the US Gulf Coast residual market, including for performance on trades of Marine Fuel 0.5%S reported through the Platts Market on Close assessment process.
The term "hand blends" refers to delivery of product from multiple tanks for a single transaction and blended on the receiving vessel. Quality and quantity for such deliveries is typically determined at load port based on a physically blended sample using product from the source tanks in representative proportions.
Due to the limited number of terminals and storage capacity, Platts understands that the US Gulf Coast market often relies on "hand blends" to ensure deliveries are done in a timely manner.
Platts has observed significant, widespread use of this practice in the existing USGC residual market. Platts has also received extensive market feedback that this practice is expected to continue to be widely employed within the Marine Fuel 0.5%S market.
For performance against trades reported through the MOC process, certificates of analysis should reflect a physical sample of the finished blend. As per Platts previously stated nomination guidelines, sellers should provide a COA at the latest on the calendar day before the first day of the reported laycan.
In addition, the International Standards Organization released its Publicly Available Specification 23263:2019 document regarding Marine Fuel 0.5%S quality in September 2019. In that document, the ISO stated that the Total Sediment Accelerated test currently typically employed for bunker deliveries may be unreliable for the new fuel. It recommended the use of the Total Sediment Potential test. The TSP test requires 24 hours for a result to be given.
Per the ISO's recommendation, Platts expects sellers to provide COAs with a complete TSP result.
Platts will continue to regularly review market dynamics regarding its Marine Fuel 0.5%S assessment, particularly following expected increased market liquidity in late 2019.
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