The India bunker fuel market is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 3.5% during the forecast period. Factors such as increasing trade with nations such as the United States and the Middle East nations are expected to drive the market. However, crude oil price volatility coupled with bunker fuel price decline in 2019 and 2020 are expected to hinder the growth of the market. In addition to this, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country and lockdown since March 2020 and is expected to have further restrictions in travel and trade with an increased number of COVID-19 cases, which is likely to hinder the market growth during the forecast period.
- With a significant increase in LNG trade and upcoming LNG terminals, it is expected to have growth in LNG carrier traffic in Indian ports, which is expected to have a positive effect on the market growth during the forecast period.
- India is a net importer country. With the growing demand in trading activities, the port infrastructures are likely to get modernized and enlarge to increase its capacity. As part of the Sagarmala Programme, more than 574 projects were identified for modernization, port connectivity enhancement, and coastal community development, during 2015-2035. Around 137 projects are under development in 2019 and are expected to be completed by 2035. Thus, such steps are likely increase traffic on ports and thus would create an opportunity for the market to grow in the near future.
- Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) is likely to dominate the market during the forecast period, owing to the IMO 2020 regulation of 0.5% Sulphur content on marine fuels.
Key Market Trends
Increasing LNG Trade and LNG Terminals are Likely to Drive the Market
- India is one of the prominent countries which had imported nearly 32.9 billion cubic meters of LNG during 2019. With increasing natural gas use in various sectors like city gas distribution (CGD), power, fertilizer, and refining sector, it is expected to have significant growth during the forecast period.
- Among all, fertilizer in India is among the top consumer of LNG. During May 2020, the fertilizer sector consumed nearly 818 million metric standard cubic meters (MMSCM) of LNG.
- Moreover, with an increasing number of bidding rounds for the CGD network, LNG imports are expected to get increase during the forecast period. During 2019, the country had 10th bidding round, which is likely to connect 50 geographical areas with 202 domestic connections by 2029, which is expected to increase natural gas consumption.
- Being a natural gas importer, an increase in demand leads to an increase in LNG trade. LNG terminals act as a gateway for imported LNG to India.
- During 2019, India has five operational LNG terminals, but with increasing demand for natural gas, the government is planning to have four more terminals in the country. Thus, an increasing number of LNG terminals is expected to increase LNG import capacity to around 50 MMTPA by 2025.
- Thus, such a scenario mentioned above is likely to boost India’s trade business and is expected to drive the marine fuel market during the forecast period.
VLSFO to Witness Significant Growth
- Marine fuel containing less than 0.5% of sulfur is generally termed as very-low sulfur fuel oil. Very-low sulfur fuel oil did not witness demand as a bunker fuel till 2019. With the deadline for IMO 2020, it was expected to have an increase in demand for VLSFO from 2020.
- However, due to the weak demand caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 in Q1 2020, the demand for VLSFO declined.
- Some of the major ports in the country by marine traffic are Deendayal Port, Paradip Port, J L Nehru Port, Visakhapatnam Port, Mumbai Port, Chennai Port, and a few others. During FY 2019, nearly 1281.78 million tonnes of goods were handled by the ports, increasing by almost 6% compared to 2017.
- These ports are well associated with marine fuel suppliers such as Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, and a few other companies with VLSFO supply facilities on the ports.
- Though the demand of VLSFO is estimated to be low in the early 2020, but to comply with the IMO 2020 regulation, operators and owners vessels are likely to opt for VLSFO, on accounts of its lower price compared to MGO and commercial availability in Indian ports. Thus, such a scenario is expected to positively impact the growth of the market during the forecast period.
The India bunker fuel market is moderately consolidated. Some of the major marine fuel suppliers in the market include Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, and Adani Bunkering Private Limited. Some of the major ship owning companies include the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), Essar Shipping Ltd, Greatship India Ltd, The Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd, Mediterranean Shipping Company, and Nautilus Shipping India Pvt Ltd.
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