Murkowski Convenes Hearing on IMO 2020

Committee Receives Update on Global Low Sulfur Standard for Marine Fuels

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to examine the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) new global sulfur standard for marine fuels – known as “IMO 2020” – which will formally take effect on January 1, 2020.

In her opening remarks, Murkowski highlighted the global health benefits that will result from the new standard.

“Its purpose is to reduce air pollution from shipping around the world,” Murkowski said. “It accomplishes that purpose by limiting the sulfur content of marine fuel – which is how much sulfur is in the diesel that ships use to move across the ocean – to 0.5 percent by mass.”

Murkowski described the three primary options the global shipping industry has for compliance with IMO 2020. Those are using low sulfur diesel fuel, installing exhaust scrubbers, or switching to liquefied natural gas. She noted the consensus that the U.S. refining industry appears to be well-positioned for compliance and highlighted the need to remain vigilant in monitoring possible impacts as IMO 2020 is implemented.

“I’m glad to see consensus among many analysts that the economic impacts of IMO 2020 will be less than what was projected just a year ago,” Murkowski said. “As the Senator from the state that pays some of the highest prices for energy in the country, I have been paying very close attention to what IMO 2020 could mean for Alaskans – especially for those who live in rural and remote areas where shipping prices are already a cause of economic hardship.”

With implementation just three weeks away, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency are currently projecting that IMO 2020 will have limited price impacts in the global markets.

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video of today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s website. Click here and here to view Murkowski’s questions for the witnesses.

Related Issues: Energy