Could Ship-Fuel Rules Give Oil Prices $4 Boost?

A Bloomberg survey suggests that crude could get a $4/barrel bump in 2020 because of new pollution-curbing regulations for global shipping fleets. The rationale: an uptick in refiners' demand for lower-sulfur crude ... thoughts?

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Maybe.  Keep in mind that the shipping crowd has done precisely nothing to prepare for the new regulations.  My guess is that the IMO  (International Maritime Organization) will blink and do an Extension of the doomsday date.  In that case, the pressure is off.  Otherwise, you are going to get "slow steaming" with ships running on marine gasoil  ("light diesel" to the rest of you).  Gasoil sells today for twice the price of bunker.  If there is pressure on gasoil, it may go to three times the price of bunker.  That will force a scramble to build "Upgraders" to take high-sulfur stuff and upgrade it to lower-sulfur stuff.  More money.  More money inevitably leads to higher pricing. Hence, slow steaming. 

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