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Fuel sulphur requirements

Fuel sulphur requirements

Emissions of sulphur oxides are limited through regulation of fuel sulphur content. Alternatively, ship owners can opt to use LNG as a fuel or install a scrubber to remove the SOx from the exhaust gas. 


As of 2015, the sulphur content of fuels used in the SOx Emission Control Areas (SECAs) will drop significantly to a level that ships can no longer meet without switching to LNG or a distillate fuel (MGO) or using scrubber technology. This juncture may therefore be a major driver for LNG as a ship fuel. This will hold even truer when the global cap of 0.5% sulphur content for maritime fuels planned for 2020 is implemented.


IMO fuel quality requirements to limit SOx emissions
Fuel sulphur content 2008 2010 2012 2015 2020*
SOx Emission Control Area (SECA) 1.5% 1% 0.10%
Worldwide 4.5% 3.5% 0.5%

* or 2025, depending on the review in 2018

Further reading

Environmental legislation

LNG is a proven technology for complying with the upcoming MARPOL Annex VI regulations. At the moment, LNG is the only available option that is able to meet both the SECA and NECA requirements without the need for using marine gas oil.