Murkowski calls for DOE to monitor IMO 2020 implementation impacts

US Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has recommended that the Department of Energy monitor impacts as the country implements the International Maritime Organization’s stricter sulfur limits starting Jan. 1.

US Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has recommended that the Department of Energy monitor impacts as the country implements the International Maritime Organization’s stricter sulfur limits starting Jan. 1, 2020.

“The consensus impact analysis of IMO 2020 has been far less clear than one might expect from markets set to adopt a global mandate,” she said in a Sept. 17 letter to US Energy Information Administration Administrator Linda A. Capuano.

“While many experts argue that US refiners will benefit overall because the American refining system is the most complex in the world, they also point to possible economic dislocations, technical challenges, and unexpected market dynamics,” Murkowski warned. “It is also unlikely that refining centers around the world will simply cede the field to us over the long term.

“None of these possibilities are conclusive reasons to oppose implementation of IMO 2020, but they are reasons to closely monitor its potential impacts, both leading up to and during implementation,” she told Capuano.

IMO’s new sulfur limits aim to reduce the amount of sulfur in fuel for ships operating outside designated emissions control areas to 0.5% mass-by-mass (m/m) from 3.5% m/m beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The organization expects this to result in an 8.7 million tonne/year, or 77%, reduction in maritime vessel sulfur emissions worldwide.

Murkowski said she was particularly concerned “about the interplay between the new standards, on one hand, and troubling reports of a global economic slowdown, on the other."

Her letter to Capuano said, “As an Alaskan, I will always remain vigilant about the good people who live in rural and remote areas in my state. You know better than most that energy prices in a state like Alaska are typically quite higher than in the Lower 48. For that reason, negative Alaska-specific impacts are sometimes difficult to isolate from national impacts that may be more positive overall.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@endeavorb2b.com.

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