The potential development comes ahead of the introduction of global shipping fuel rules, set to be introduced in 2020, which see sulphur component in marine fuel dip to 0.5% from 3.5%.
According to a senior executive from Exxon Mobil Corp, the oil and gas giant is weighing the option of a multi-billion dollar investment at its Singapore refinery ahead of new global shipping fuel regulations in 2020.
“We are currently assessing a multi-billion project in our integrated manufacturing facility here in Singapore,” said Matt Bergeron, vice president of Asia Pacific Fuels Business at Exxon.
He went on to add, “Should the project proceed, we plan to implement proprietary technologies that will convert lower value by-products into cleaner higher value products including 0.5 percent sulphur fuels that we believe will be the compliant option for the vast majority of the marine sector”.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) aims to curb pollution by shipping companies by bringing in new rules on marine fuels from 2020. These will include limiting the sulphur content to 0.5%, down from their current levels of 3.5%.
Oil refining and shipping companies are scrambling to prepare for the shift and have made large investments to comply with the new standards, which were announced in 2016.
With a capacity of 592,000 barrels a day, Exxon’s Singapore refinery is its largest. Incidentally, Singapore is also home to the its biggest integrated petrochemical complex.
“We have already made significant investments at a number of other refineries around the world in order to increase our production capacity of cleaner fuels with lower sulphur content,” said Bergeron.
In September 2018, Exxon had stated it plans on spending more than $650 million to upgrade its largest oil refinery in the UK – Fawley, situated on England’s south coast.