Indian oil and natural gas company Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) has started supplying low-sulphur marine fuel, which complies with the new International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) regulations.

According to the new global IMO rules, the maximum sulphur content in marine fuel should not exceed 0.5%, starting from 1 January 2020.

Vessels using higher-sulphur fuel oil must contain special pollution control systems to reduce sulphur emissions.

HPCL said: “HPCL launched IMO 2020-compliant very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) at Visakhapatnam (in Andhra Pradesh) on 2 January.”

In December 2019, HPCL’s Visakh refinery produced the first batch of VLSFO. Since October last year, Indian Oil has been producing IMO-specified bunker fuel.

Currently, Indian refiners are supplying approximately 15,000 barrels of bunker fuel a day.

HPCL chairman and managing director Mukesh Surana said: “From January 1 2020, IMO has enforced a 0.5% global sulphur cap on fuel for areas, which until December 31  2019, were allowed to use fuel oil with 3.5% sulphur.

“In these areas, all ships are now required to use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%, unless they use exhaust gas cleaning systems like Scrubbers.”

HPCL owns and manages refineries at Visakhapatnam on the east coast and Mumbai on the west coast.

HPCL owns a stake in the Bhatinda refinery in Punjab. In addition, the company is developing a refinery and petrochemical complex at Barmer in Rajasthan.

Based in Mumbai, HPCL has approximately 25% of the market share in India among public-sector companies (PSUs).

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) owns 51.11% stake in HPCL, while the remaining stake is owned by financial institutes, public and other investors.