The 14 senators in a letter earlier this week said implementing and enforcing the stricter sulfur standards would “fuel America’s growing energy dominance.”
Fourteen Republican senators signed a letter sent to President Donald Trump earlier this week in support of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 standards for cleaner ship fuel, which reduces the sulfur content permitted in a ship’s fuel from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent effective Jan. 1.
“The U.S. is well positioned to benefit from these new standards because we are already the world’s leading producer of low-sulfur fuels,” the letter reads. “Additionally, many foreign refiners lack the complexity required to process heavy crude oil into IMO-compliant fuel and could turn to U.S. produced low-sulfur crude, increasing domestic oil exports. On the other hand, global competitors are likely to see demand and prices drop for their heavy crude.”
The International Energy Agency (IEA) supply forecast indicates the U.S. is expected to account for more than 70 percent of worldwide oil production growth from 2019 to 2024, according to a March BlueWater Reporting commentary.
“The second wave of the U.S. shale revolution is coming,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said per the report. “This will shake up international oil and gas trade flows, with profound implications for the geopolitics of energy.”
It will lead to an additional 4 million barrels per day of production in the U.S. by 2024, he said. The average barrel of shale oil has an average sulfur content of 0.3 percent, compared to the 1.2 percent of sulfur content in the average barrel of crude oil, according to the report.
“With more than a decade to prepare, our nation’s refiners have heavily invested in infrastructure upgrades to meet the expected global demand for the low-sulfur fuels,” the letter reads. “Any attempt by the United States to reverse course on IMO 2020 could create market uncertainty, cause harm to the U.S. energy industry and potentially backfire on consumers.”
In a statement, Coalition for American Energy Security spokesman Ken Spain said $100 billion of planning and investments had been made over the course of 12 years.
The IMO’s Maritime Environmental Protection Committee last year declined to postpone the implementation of the new sulfur cap.
The letter, which was led by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., also was signed by fellow Republican Senators Jim Inhofe, Okla.; Roger Wicker, Miss.; Rob Portman, Ohio; John Kennedy, La.; Shelley Moore Capito, W. Va.; John Hoeven, N.D.; M. Michael Rounds, S.D.; Kevin Cramer, N.D., Tom Cotton, Ark., John Boozman, Ark.; James Lankford, Okla.; Rick Scott, Fla.; and Todd Young, Ind.