Ensuring the quality of bunker fuel has become a more difficult task due to the combined effects of IMO 2020 and increased inventory, according to bunker sector experts.

The oil industry has long advised bunker players and shipowners not to store very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) for long, with uncertainty over the new product’s shelf life.

But market participants suggested large quantities of fuel that comply with the IMO 2020 sulphur cap, for ships that do not have exhaust gas scrubbers, had entered storage in recent months in a soft demand and a contango environment, when spot prices are below forward prices.