News Code : 43145

Methanol's use as a marine fuel was expected to grow ahead of IMO 2020 -- the lower sulfur cap on marine fuel globally -- with Waterfront Shipping Company launching new vessels running on the clean fuel this year, executives from the company and its parent, Methanex, said.

Petrotahlil :"We expect to see an increasing interest in methanol as owners get ready for 2020," Waterfront Shipping president Paul Hexter said. He and Stuart McCall, Director of Business Development at Methanex Corporation, spoke to Platts in an interview.

Waterfront Shipping, a wholly owned subsidiary of Methanex, is launching four ocean-going vessels powered by methanol with the first expected to be delivered mid-August and the other three by the end of this year.

The four 49,000 dwt vessels will have dual-fuel engines, able to run also on fuel oil, marine diesel oil or gas oil.

Stricter International Maritime Organization emissions regulations, which will see the sulfur limit in marine fuel globally dropping to 0.5% in 2020 from 3.5%, have led to a growing interest for cleaner fuels.

Methanol significantly reduces sulfur, nitrogen, particulate matter and carbon emissions when compared to conventional fuels.

"Owners will use fuels, such as methanol, they see as proven, cost-competitive and available," Hexter said.

"Demand for methanol as a marine fuel is tough to predict at this stage. What we can say is that methanol is globally available, easy to handle, transport, store and deliver and expect to see increasing interest," Hexter said.

The company launched seven new 50,000 dwt vessels in 2016.

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