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Yara: Scrubber market will bounce back when COVID-19 is controlled

Scrubber manufacturer Yara Marine Technologies has forecast that the market for exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) will bounce back when the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.

Speaking at DNV GL’s Alternative Fuels Online Conference today (15 October), Kai Låtun, Director Sales and Public Affairs at Yara Marine Technologies, said that there had been a significant differential between high and very low sulphur fuel oil (HSFO and VLSFO) – which is the mainstay of the business case for using scrubbers – at the start of this year. But this was then eroded by the ‘demand destruction’ caused by COVID-19 which, said Låtun, led to an ‘artificially high HFO price and low VLSFO price’.

Låtun noted some refineries have been running HFO as a feedstock, which pushed up the price of HFO and skewed the market still further.

However, Låtun was optimistic for the future as he believed that ‘the refineries will go back to using crude as a feedstock’ and ‘when COVID is controlled next year, you will still see a very, very profitable business case for scrubbers and HFO’.

Låtun also used his presentation at the DNV GL conference to argue that there were not only commercial but also environmental benefits to using scrubbers rather than VLSFO, as the equipment helps to reduce other pollutants besides dealing with sulphur. Låtun said that studies prove that: ‘HFO with scrubbers beats compliant fuels in the race to reduce CO2 emissions.’

In addition, he tackled the criticisms that have been directed at the use of open loop scrubbers and the discharge of wastewaters – arguing that there has been ‘no scientific evidence that scrubbers could damage the environment’.

Ian Taylor

Ian Taylor