By Ron Bousso, Stephanie Kelly and Devika Krishna Kumar LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Refinery outages in Saudi Arabia following weekend attacks on its oil facilities could deal a blow to the shipping industry’s preparations for the biggest switch in fuel standards in decades. Saudi Aramco, the state-run oil company, shut an estimated 40% of its refining capacity, roughly 1 million barrels per day (bpd), following Saturday’s missile and drone strikes on a major oilfield and the country’s largest processing plant. It remains unclear how long refinery output will be curtailed. The outage has crimped global supplies of diesel, which Saudi Arabia regularly exports in large volumes. The drop in diesel supplies and subsequent sharp rise in diesel refining margins come at a sensitive time for oil traders and shipping firms busy stocking the product before a switch to cleaner marine fuel standards next January. The new rules, aimed at reducing air pollution in seagoing vessels, will require ships globally to use fuels with a sulphur content below 0.5%, down from 3.5% now. The rules, known as IMO 2020, are expected to tighten supplies of distillates, including diesel. “The Saudi outages are bad news for IMO preparations,” said Robert Campbell, head… Read full this story
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