The demand for light sweet crude, with lower sulfur content, is set to peak in the near future.
On Monday, an executive from Enterprise Products disclosed that the demand for U.S. light sweet crude is could potentially go northwards since the specifications for sulfur in refined products, such as in fuel oil and as shale producers are getting less stringent thus widening the scope for more crude oil drilling operations.
“The (crude oil) barrels have to clear across the water … To the demand in Asia, to the demand in Europe,” said Brent Secrest, senior vice president at Enterprise Products, at an industry event in Singapore.
There has been a sharp rise in U.S. crude oil production following the shale oil revolution in the U.S., which has significantly contributed to the glut in the global oil pool.
U.S. refiners are gearing up for greater processing of heavier crude oil which has higher sulfur content.
As per Secrest, Enterprise currently exports nearly 100,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the U.S. Gulf coast. U.S. refiners are expected to export higher quantities of U.S. crude and are unlikely to change their refinery configurations to accommodate domestic light sweet crude oil, said Secrest.
A new specification for sulfur in fuels is set to begin in 2020, and is set to boost the demand for low-sulfur oil in the United States.
”(The) solution is light sweet crude oil that we have to offer, said Secrest.
In October, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has tightened sulfur restrictions in crude oil, as a result sulfur emissions are set to fall from their current maximum of 3.5% to 0.5%.
The refinery and shipping sector has yet to decide on a way to deal with the upgraded stricter standard.
Possible solutions include switching to gasoil or installing scrubbers to remove sulfur emissions from ships.