China’s exports of clean marine fuels rose in December to a record since shipments began a year ago, taking 2020 exports of the ship fuel to 15.45 million tonnes, customs data showed on January 20, 2021.

Chinese oil refineries began exporting very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) in January to comply with emission rules set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), after Beijing granted tax incentives to boost production and help create a regional bunkering hub. 

In December, exports of VLSFO, with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%, were 2.47 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed, nearly double the volume in November.

Fuel oil imports into bonded storage, which includes both high-sulphur and low-sulphur materials, were 1.03 million tonnes in December, steady to November, and annual imports totaled 11.48 million tonnes.

China has 16 licensed firms supplying bonded marine fuel along its coast, including about a dozen based in the eastern port of Zhoushan, the country’s top bunkering center. Despite a surge in domestic production, companies maintained imports of less expensive low-sulphur cargoes from Singapore for re-export.

In late December, China issued 5 million tonnes of clean marine fuel export quotas in the first release for 2021 to five companies, including private refiner Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp.

The table shows China’s fuel oil exports in metric tonnes. The exports section largely captures the VLSFO bunkering sales along its coast.

Exports Monthly total Year to date
Jan-Feb 1,560,681 1,560,681
Mar 1,068,789  2,629,470
Apr 1,433,185 4,062,655
May 1,143,929 5,196,914
June 1,264,909 6,461,687
July 1,179,766 7,641,453
Aug 1,621,449 9,262,902
Sep 1,266,796 10,529,698
Oct 1,223,311 11,753,009
Nov 1,261,832 13,014,841
Dec 2,473,000 15,449,200

(Source: Reuters)

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