SK Energy Co., South Korea's leading oil refinery and gas station operator, said Sunday its desulfurization facility in the country will be completed by January, with its commercial operation likely to start in March.
Since 2017, SK Energy has spent 1 trillion won (US$846 million) on building the vacuum residue desulfurization (VRDS) facility with a capacity of 40,000 barrels of low-sulfur fuel oil a day, in Ulsan, the country's southeastern port city, to cope with stringent regulations on ship fuel.
Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations on sulfur content in marine fuel will go into effect, limiting the sulfur cap of marine fuel to 0.5 percent from the current 3.5 percent. To comply with IMO 2020, vessel operators need to either install exhaust gas cleaning systems, also called scrubbers, or use clean fuel, such as low-sulfur fuel oil, marine gas oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
To get benefits from IMO 2020, local refiners have been beefing up their desulfurization and upgrading facilities to produce more low-sulfur petroleum products.
SK Energy expects an additional profit of between 200 billion won to 300 billion won annually. (Yonhap)