Australia's Viva Energy launches new fuel for IMO2020

MELBOURNE, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Australia's Viva Energy VEA.AX said on Wednesday it has launched a very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) to meet the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO's) new rules on fuel sulphur content for ships.

Viva, which operates a refinery in Geelong outside Melbourne, is the first of Australia's refiners to produce a low sulphur fuel oil.

Under the IMO2020 rules, the sulphur content of marine fuels must be limited to 0.5%, down from 3.5% as of Jan. 1.

The new VLSFO has been tested by a number of customers and is now available in Melbourne and Geelong, Viva said.

The refiner said its VLSFO had cost and quality advantages over diesel and marine gas oil (MGO), which also meet the IMO2020 standard, and ships could use the fuel without having to make major upgrades.

"Viva Energy's VLSFO is expected to be cheaper than diesel and MGO," Viva's Geelong Refinery manager, Thys Heyns, said in a statement.

"Compared to high sulphur fuel oil, VLSFO is superior in terms of fuel economy," he added.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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