Global sulphur levels for residual fuels rose to six-year high in 2017: MEPC

Average annual sulphur content increased to its highest level since 2011, according to data.



Fuel oil samples inspected for sediment and water in the oil lab aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, on March 13, 2017. Image credit: US Navy Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


Updated on 16 Apr 2018 10:28 GMT

The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), at its 72nd session held in London last week, noted that both the annual and three-year global average sulphur content for tested residual fuels was higher in 2017 compared to the previous year.

The data showed that annual sulphur levels had risen from 2.58% to 2.60% between 2016 and 2017 - the highest since 2011, whilst the three-year average rolling figure increased from 2.50% to 2.54% - a five-year high.

A summary of the findings has been provided below.

Year Annual (%) 3-Year Rolling (%)
2017 2.60 2.54
2016 2.58 2.50
2015 2.45 2.45
2014 2.46 2.47
2013 2.43 2.53
2012 2.51 2.59
2011 2.65 2.62
2010 2.61 --
2009 2.60 --

As Bunker Index previously reported back in February, Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) said it had seen a 33% increase in bunker alerts related to residual fuels last year, compared to 2016.

Overall, in 2017, the company issued the highest number of bunker alerts since the peak of 2014.