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Argus Media: Covid, China discount may hit Singapore bunker fuel demand

Likely due to lower prices in China and recent crew change restrictions following the discovery of a Covid-19 cluster on board a bunker vessel in the city-state.

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Singapore-based Sammy Six of global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Wednesday (5 May) published a report suggesting a decrease of Singapore’s bunker fuel sales volume due to a combination of factors:

Demand for bunkers in Singapore will likely be hit by lower prices in China and recent crew change restrictions following the discovery of a Covid-19 cluster on board a bunker vessel in the city-state.

A new Covid-19 cluster was reported in Singapore on 24 April after four community cases were linked to an Indonesian sea crew member who tested positive for the virus. The four Indonesian nationals were working on board the same bunker tanker, the MT ALLI, as the earlier case.

A surge in Covid-19 infections in India also prompted Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority to ban crew changes at the port of Singapore involving non-residents with a recent travel history to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The ban took effect at 11.59pm local time (3.59pm GMT) on 1 May. This follows an earlier ban on crew changes for those who have recently travelled to India.

This has led to some bunker traffic at Port Klang in Malaysia given the quarantine requirements in Singapore, a local buyer said.

"Some might also divert because of the container terminal congestion in Singapore, resulting from very-high volume flows and the Suez Canal congestion working its way out of the system," another local buyer said.

"The closing of the borders for those coming from south Asia will affect crew changes severely, which makes the case for buyers to divert to China with lower prices there all the more appealing," a local trader said.

Very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) prices at China's largest bunkering hub of Zhoushan have averaged a discount of $8.64/t to Singapore over the past month, according to Argus data. Zhoushan VLSFO bunkers were sold at an average premium of $1.90/t over the past year. This reversal was driven by profitable residual refining margins at refineries in China, causing a serious oversupply situation.

Market participants unanimously said they have seen a notable increase in activity in China compared with Singapore, with generally weak spot demand further dampening demand for bunkers in the city-state. Singapore yesterday announced it will reimpose tougher restrictions on gatherings and business activity in reaction to the recent emergence of new clusters of coronavirus cases.

Argus has reported an average of 5.5 spot bunker deals each day in May so far, down from 8 in April.

 

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 6 May, 2021

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Biofuel

GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the “TIHAMA”, a 19,870 TEU container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd in final trial; marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022.

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GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Thursday (18 July) said it has successfully completed its final supply chain trial for biofuel blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). 

This marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022 as part of a larger pilot to develop a framework to provide quality, quantity and GHG abatement assurances for drop-in fuels.

In this final trial, bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the TIHAMA, a 19,870 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd.

The biofuel component used is certified to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) standard – a multistakeholder certification scheme for biobased materials. The biofuel component comprised neat Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) produced from food waste.

Authentix, a tracer solutions provider, supplied and dosed the FAME with an organic-based tracer at the storage terminal outside the Netherlands. The dosed FAME was then transported to the Port of Rotterdam for blending with VLSFO to achieve a B30 blend, before the blend was bunkered onboard the TIHAMA.

Similar to previous trials, GCMD engaged fuel testing company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to witness the operations at all stages – from biofuel cargo transfer to bunkering. VPS also collected and conducted extensive laboratory tests on samples of the biofuel and biofuel blend collected at pre-determined points along the supply chain to assess quality per Standards EN 14214 and ISO 8217.

With well-to-wake emissions of 13.74 gCO2e/MJ, the neat FAME presented a 85.4% emissions reduction compared to the emissions of the fossil marine fuel. The reduced emissions complies with the MEPC 80, which requires a minimum emissions reduction of 65% in order for biofuels to be classified as sustainable.

GCMD and Hapag-Lloyd determined that consumption of the 4,500 MT B30 blend of FAME and VLSFO resulted in 27.9% emissions reduction compared to sailing on VLSFO.

A newly developed tracer deployed with this supply chain

GCMD collaborated with Authentix to develop and deploy a new organic-based tracer to authenticate the origin and verify the amount of FAME present in the blend. The proprietary tracer blended homogeneously with FAME and was detected at expected concentrations at all sampling points along the supply chain.

This trial marks the first deployment of this tracer in a marine fuel supply chain. Previously, similar tracers were used to authenticate and quantify biofuels in road transport and LPG supply chains.

Development of a comprehensive biofuels assurance framework underway

With the completion of this trial, GCMD has deployed a diverse range of tracer technologies, including synthetic DNA and element-based tracers, in addition to the organic-based tracer used in this trial. The trials have also included the development of a chemical fingerprinting methodology and the evaluation of lock-and-seal and automatic identification systems (AIS) as additional solutions to ensure the integrity of the biofuels supply chain.

Learnings on tracer limitations and benefits will be incorporated into a framework that recommends appropriate use to ensure consistent and robust performance. This effort will complement existing ISCC by providing additional supply chain assurance through physical traceability.

The insights from these trials will be shared in a series of reports covering issues, such as traceability, biofuel degradation, supply chain optimisation and abatement costs. These findings will culminate in a comprehensive assurance framework to provide guidance on biofuels use, slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2024.

 

Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 19 July 2024

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Ammonia

MPA, ITOCHU and partners sign MoU on ammonia-fuelled bulk carriers study

As a government agency, MPA,will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations, says ClassNK.

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Classification society ClassNK on Thursday (18 July) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ITOCHU Corporation, Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd., and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) regarding a joint study for the design and safety specifications of ammonia-fuelled ships which are under development by ITOCHU and partners.

“The discussion for a specification of ammonia-fuelled ships with a governmental body related to their operation is essential for a social implementation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK said. 

“As one of parties of the MoU, MPA, a government agency overseeing the world’s busiest bunkering hub, will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations.”

The MoU is based on the premise that 200,000 deadweight ton class bulk carriers will be built by Nihon Shipyard with an ammonia dual-fuelled engine.

“The necessary clarifications of the specification for the ammonia-fueled ship to carry out ammonia bunkering in Singapore will be conducted among parties of this MoU, for the commercialisation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK added.

 

Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 19 July 2024

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Biofuel

“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels “Viking Ocean”, “Viking Diamond” and “Viking Coral” while bunkering in Singapore, says Gram Car Carriers.

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“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Norwegian transportation firm Gram Car Carriers (GCC) on Thursday (18 July) said Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) will use biofuel on three vessels chartered from GCC from July onwards. 

“The biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels Viking Ocean, Viking Diamond and Viking Coral while bunkering in Singapore, an Asian hub for marine biofuels,” GCC said on its social media. 

“The use of biofuel is a key environmental initiative to reduce emissions across the entire value chain (well-to-exhaust) and an effective way of transitioning to low-carbon marine fuels amid globally tightening environmental regulations.”

“We support the green mobility shift. This means that GCC commit to supporting the transition of both vehicles and their logistic chain towards a zero-emission future in close cooperation with leading customers such as K-Line,” said Georg A. Whist, CEO of GCC.

 

Photo credit: Gram Car Carriers
Published: 19 July 2024

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