The U.S. move towards energy independence will have a big impact on the country's bunker markets, according to Adrian Tolson, General Manager - North America, OW Bunker.
Speaking to delegates gathered at the recentConnecticut Maritime Association (CMA) Shipping 2014 annual conference, Tolson saidNorth America was dealing with "massive" and "very unique" changes.
"One is the move to U.S. energy independence. Every month there seems to be a record production from an oil field or with U.S. domestic crude. Its having a big impact on our business," he said.
"Some of that crude literally finds its way into the bunker pool unblended. Some of that crude is refined producing some fuel oil, but generally there is less fuel oil than in the past." Tolson explained that as the U.S. refines more of its own crude, in the future there is likely to be less fuel oil production than there has been to date.
"Its going to be interesting in how that affects our bunker market going forwards because we don't know. Will there be more imports?"
Another change for North America will come with the completion of the Panama Canalexpansion, which Tolson said would clearly have an impact on the U.S. market.
"There is a belief that the East Coast could see a pick up in the market," he said.
"There is also a belief that the West Coast could see less business, although I've talked to many in LA and they've assured me that it won't be an impact. Its still cheaper and quicker to bring a container in through Los Angeles than ship it by water to New York."
CMA's next event, CMA Shipping 2015, will be held on March 23-25, 2015 at the Hilton Stamford Hotel, Connecticut.