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A clean slate for Gulf refiners

The region's refiners have less than three years to play their ace card as the IMO implements new sulphur limits on bunker fuel from 2020

The biggest surprise following the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) ruling last October was that anyone was surprised; reducing the sulphur cap for bunker fuel from 3.5% to 0.5% has been on the regulatory table for nearly a decade. Sulphur caps of 4.5% from 1997 and then 3.5% from 2012 also gave refiners and their slow-but-steady attitude a heads up. Still, many are now hurriedly reviewing their crude slates and balance sheets to try—and it is an ongoing, not guaranteed, effort—to keep pace with the biggest shift in the shipping industry since coal-powered vessels crossed the world's oceans nearly a century ago. Only the complex refineries producing a broad crude blend and an abi

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