MGO Fuel: A Promising Alternative to Traditional Fossil Fuels



Marine Gas Oil or MGO is a popular fuel used in the shipping industry. It is a high-quality marine fuel that consists exclusively of distillates. Distillates are all those components of crude oil that evaporate during distillation and are then condensed from a gas into a liquid. MGO usually consists of a blend of various distillates.

One of the main benefits of MGO Fuel is its low sulfur content, making it a cleaner fuel option compared to other marine fuels. It also has a high flashpoint, which means that it is less likely to ignite compared to other fuels. This makes it a safer option for use on ships. MGO is used in a variety of marine applications, including for propulsion and power generation.

However, MGO is not without its drawbacks. It is more expensive compared to other marine fuels, which can be a significant expense for shipping companies.

Example of MGO fuel compared to HFO fuel

Additionally, MGO has a lower energy density compared to other fuels, which means that more fuel is required to achieve the same level of power output. Despite these drawbacks, MGO remains a popular fuel choice for many shipping companies due to its lower emissions and safety benefits.

What is MGO Fuel?

MGO fuel, also known as Marine Gas Oil, is a type of fuel that is commonly used in the shipping industry. It is a distillate fuel that is made from crude oil and is similar to diesel fuel. MGO fuel has a low sulfur content, which makes it a cleaner-burning fuel compared to other types of marine fuels.

It is used in a variety of marine applications, including small boats, fishing vessels, and large cargo ships. MGO fuel is often preferred over other fuels because it is less polluting and has a lower risk of causing engine damage. Additionally, MGO fuel is compatible with most marine engines and can be used in both slow-speed and high-speed engines.

While MGO fuel is a cleaner-burning fuel compared to other marine fuels, it is still important to handle it with care. Like other fuels, MGO fuel is flammable and can be dangerous if not handled properly. It is important to follow safety guidelines when handling and storing MGO fuel to prevent accidents and ensure that it is used safely.

Advantages of MGO Fuel

Reduced Emissions

One of the main advantages of Marine Gas Oil (MGO) fuel is that it produces significantly lower emissions compared to other marine fuels. MGO has a lower sulfur content, which means it produces fewer sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions. This makes it an ideal fuel for use in ports and Emission Control Areas (ECAs), where strict regulations are in place to limit emissions.

In addition to reducing SOx and PM emissions, MGO also produces lower levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) compared to Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). NOx emissions contribute to acid rain, smog, and other air quality issues, so reducing these emissions is an important environmental benefit of MGO fuel.

Increased Efficiency

Another advantage of MGO fuel is that it can help increase the efficiency of marine engines. MGO has a higher energy density than HFO, which means it can produce more energy per unit of fuel. This can help ships travel further and faster on less fuel, which can result in significant cost savings over time.

In addition to its higher energy density, MGO also has a lower viscosity than HFO. This means it flows more easily through the engine’s fuel system, which can help reduce wear and tear on engine components and improve overall engine performance.

Cost Savings

While MGO fuel is typically more expensive than HFO, it can still provide cost savings in the long run. Because MGO produces lower emissions, ships using this fuel may be eligible for incentives or discounts in port fees or emissions trading schemes. Additionally, the increased efficiency of MGO can result in lower fuel consumption and lower operating costs over time.

Switching to MGO fuel may also help ships comply with current and future environmental regulations, which can help avoid costly fines or penalties for non-compliance.

Disadvantages of MGO Fuel

MGO fuel has several disadvantages that need to be considered when selecting a fuel for marine vessels. This section will cover two main disadvantages of MGO fuel: higher cost and availability.

Higher Cost

One of the main disadvantages of MGO fuel is its higher cost compared to other marine fuels. According to ExxonMobil, MGO is one of the most expensive marine fuels available, with a higher price per metric ton than heavy fuel oil (HFO) and marine diesel oil (MDO).

The higher cost of MGO fuel can significantly impact the operating costs of a vessel. This can be particularly problematic for vessels that operate on tight profit margins.


Another disadvantage of MGO fuel is its limited availability compared to other marine fuels. MGO fuel is typically only available in major ports and is not as widely available as HFO and MDO. This can be a significant issue for vessels that operate in remote areas or smaller ports.

The limited availability of MGO fuel can also lead to supply chain issues and potential delays for vessels that require this fuel. This can be particularly problematic for vessels that operate on a tight schedule.

MGO Fuel vs Other Fuels

MGO Fuel vs HFO

MGO fuel is a type of marine fuel considered a cleaner alternative to heavy fuel oil (HFO). HFO is a residual fuel that is left over after the refining process and is typically used in large marine engines. While HFO is cheaper than MGO, it has a higher sulfur content and emits more harmful pollutants into the environment.

Switching from HFO to MGO can lead to significant reductions in emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM). In fact, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has implemented regulations to limit the sulfur content of marine fuels, with the goal of reducing the environmental impact of shipping. As of January 1, 2020, the sulfur content of marine fuels must be no more than 0.5%.

MGO Fuel vs LNG

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is another alternative to HFO that has been gaining popularity in recent years. LNG is a cleaner-burning fuel that emits fewer pollutants than HFO or MGO. However, the infrastructure required to produce, transport, and store LNG can be expensive, making it less practical for some shipping companies.

Compared to LNG, MGO has a higher energy density, meaning that it can provide more power per unit of fuel. This can be an advantage for ships that require high levels of power, such as container ships or tankers. MGO is also easier to store and handle than LNG, as it does not require specialized storage tanks or equipment.

However, it is worth noting that MGO is still a fossil fuel and emits greenhouse gases when burned. As the shipping industry continues to look for ways to reduce its environmental impact, alternative fuels such as LNG and biofuels may become more widely adopted.

MGO Fuel Price

MGO or Marine Gas Oil is a type of fuel that is commonly used in the shipping industry. The price of MGO fuel is a significant factor that affects a ship’s operating costs. The price of MGO fuel is influenced by various factors, including crude oil prices, supply and demand, and regulations.

According to Ship & Bunker, the price of MGO fuel in Singapore was $606.00 per metric tonne as of April 6, 2023. The G20-VLSFO Index of prices across 20 leading bunkering ports lost $4/mt to $632.50/mt on Friday, reaching the lowest level since January 11. The bunker fuel prices are volatile and are subject to fluctuations based on bunker trading market conditions.

The price of MGO fuel is also influenced by the sulfur content. As per the regulations set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the maximum sulfur content in marine fuel oil should be 0.5% m/m from January 1, 2020. This has led to a shift towards low-sulfur fuels like MGO, which has resulted in an increase in the price of MGO fuel.

Another factor that affects the price of MGO fuel is the location. The price of MGO fuel can vary significantly based on the location and availability of the fuel. For example, the price of MGO fuel in Rotterdam was $610.00 per metric tonne as of April 6, 2023, according to Oil Monster.

Overall, the price of MGO fuel is a crucial factor that shipping companies need to consider while planning their operations. The price of MGO fuel is subject to fluctuations based on various factors, and shipping companies need to keep a close eye on the market conditions to optimize their operations and reduce costs.

Future of MGO Fuel

As the shipping industry looks to decarbonize, there is a growing interest in alternative fuels. However, MGO fuel is expected to remain a significant player in the industry for the foreseeable future.

One reason for this is that MGO fuel is already widely used and accepted by shipping companies. It is a relatively low-cost fuel option that is readily available in most ports around the world. Additionally, MGO fuel has a higher energy density than many alternative fuels, meaning that it can provide more power per unit of fuel.

While there are concerns about the emissions from burning MGO fuel, there are also efforts underway to reduce these emissions. One approach is to develop low-sulfur MGO fuel, which has lower emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx). The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated the use of low-sulfur fuels in certain regions, such as the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) around North America and Europe.

Another approach is to use MGO fuel in combination with other technologies, such as scrubbers or catalytic converters, which can further reduce emissions. Scrubbers are devices that remove pollutants from exhaust gases before they are released into the atmosphere. Catalytic converters use chemical reactions to convert pollutants into less harmful substances.

Looking ahead, it is likely that MGO fuel will continue to be an important fuel option for the shipping industry. While there are concerns about its environmental impact, there are also efforts underway to mitigate these impacts. As the industry continues to evolve and new technologies emerge, it will be interesting to see how MGO fuel fits into the mix.

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Dmitry S

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