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Argus Media viewpoint: Biofuel bunkering in Singapore set to build

Market participants expect biofuel bunkering will transition from mainly being used in trials and pilot studies to actual market pick-up and maturation in 2023, says Sammy Six.

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It has been all about biofuel bunkering in the world's largest bunkering hub of Singapore in 2022, with the fuel's rapid uptake widely expected to continue in 2023.

20 December 2022

Back in October senior minister of state for transport Chee Hong Tat said at the Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (Sibcon) that the city-state has supplied about 70,000t of biofuels to ocean-going vessels across more than 40 biofuel bunkering operations so far in 2022.

To put this in perspective, biofuel bunkering sales had already outpaced total LNG bunker consumption of 50,000t in 2021, the most mature alternative bunker fuel of choice.

In Singapore, a maximum of 24pc of biofuels is allowed in a bunker blend, which is also called B24. The remaining 76pc is made up of very-low sulphur fuel oil. It remains to be seen whether this share in the blend can and will increase, as is already the case in Europe and North America.

Vitol and Chevron are the two leading suppliers of B24 at the port of Singapore, with Vitol alone accounting for about half of the quantities sold.

Large international shipping companies such as NYK, Oldendorff, CMA CGM, K-Line and Cosco, among others, started trialling B24 onboard their vessels for ocean-going journeys in 2022 without any complications.

Biofuels are a popular choice for shippers looking to decarbonise their fleet in order to meet the International Maritime Organization's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.

This is because biofuel blends are a plug-and-play solution that is widely available and do not need engine modifications.

Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority in October 2022 developed a provisional national quality standard for marine biofuels, as well as a framework laying down conditions for biofuel supply for licensed bunker fuel suppliers, to boost the pick-up of biofuels bunkering.

A supporting regulatory framework like this will further stimulate marine biofuel consumption in Singapore, as the industry awaits a global ISO standard.

Multi-fuel future

Market participants expect that biofuel bunkering will transition from mainly being used in trials and pilot studies to actual market pick-up and maturation in 2023.

Already some B24 spot trading is taking place, although most of the volumes sold are under long-term contracts as reported to Argus.

Other low- or zero-carbon bunker fuels such as ammonia, methanol and hydrogen are all potential candidates in a multi-fuel future as well. All of these have, similar to biofuels, positive and negative characteristics relative to conventional marine fuels.

The biofuels used in a B24 blend are currently used cooking oil methyl ester (Ucome), but there are questions regarding the sustainability of future biofuel supplies. Hence, it is possible that the growth in biofuels will be capped by the emergence of competition from other fuels. Already, shipping companies and fuel suppliers are working together to incept supply chains for green ammonia and methanol bunkering, as well as hydrogen, in key hubs such as Singapore and South Korea.

For now it looks like biofuels in Singapore are destined to capture an increasing share of the bunkering fuel mix at least in the short to medium term, with 2023 poised to be a critical year for B24.

By Sammy Six

 

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 21 December, 2022

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: All hands on deck to overcome net-zero fuel transition challenges, says panellists

Ammonia is touted as the long-term fuel solution, but safety concerns and novel technology could hinder its widespread application.

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SMW 2024: All hands on deck to overcome net-zero fuel transition challenges, says panellists

The article ‘All hands on deck to overcome net-zero fuel transition challenges: panellists’ was first published on Issue 4 of the Singapore Maritime Week 2024 Show Dallies; it has been reproduced in its entirety on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times with permission from The Nutgraf and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore:

By Matthew Gan

Ammonia is emerging as the key net-zero fuel of the future, but the maritime industry faces several challenges in its large-scale adoption.

A critical concern is safety. Ammonia poses safety  risks because of the high volume of explosive engine combustions, and the gas’ toxicity.

“Safety is the most crucial thing – both environmental and operator safety,” said Mr Hiroki Kobayashi, Chief Executive Officer at heavy industries firm IHI Asia Pacific, at the Net-Zero Fuel Pathways Panel during the Accelerating Digitalisation and Decarbonisation Conference on Wednesday.

Given the focus on safety, a substantial proportion of resources should be spent on ensuring ammonia technology is safe, added Mr Nicolas Brabeck, Managing Director at energy provider MAN Energy Solutions Singapore.

What will help, noted Mr Kenneth Widell, Senior Project Manager (Smart Technology Hub) at marine and energy solutions provider Wartsila, is having stakeholders share information on safe ammonia usage.

Another challenge is training seafarers to use novel technology. But panellists agreed that it should not deter the industry from pursuing the widespread adoption of ammonia.

“All this is new to us, but we can start training early, collect feedback, and adjust accordingly,” said Mr Leonardo Sonzio, Vice-President and Head of Fleet Management and Technology at global shipping company Maersk.

Stakeholders should also collaborate more, said Mr Robert van Nielen, Vice-President (Growth) at liquid storage logistics provider Advario. “There are many things to set up – supply chains, logistics, safety protocols and training – but we need to transition. And if we want to make this change in time, we must work together,” he said.

As moderator Mr Knut Orbeck-Nilssen, Chief Executive Officer (Maritime) at registrar and classification society DNV, put it in his closing remarks: “The fuel of the future, really, is collaboration.”

Singapore Maritime Week 2024 was organised by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore from 15 to 19 April. 

 

Photo credit: Knut Orbeck-Nilssen / DNV
Article credit: The Nutgraf/ Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 24 April 2024

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LNG Bunkering

TotalEnergies announces FID for first LNG bunkering hub in the Middle East

LNG production from LNG liquefaction plant in port of Sohar, as part of Marsa project, is expected to start by first quarter 2028 and is primarily intended for LNG bunkering in the Gulf.

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TotalEnergies announces FID for first LNG bunkering hub in the Middle East

Energy company TotalEnergies and Oman National Oil Company on Monday (22 April) announced the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Marsa LNG plant project.

TotalEnergies had signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Oman LNG to offtake 0.8 Mtpa of LNG for ten years from 2025, making the company one of the main offtaker of Oman LNG's production.

Finally, TotalEnergies (49%) and OQ Alternative Energy (51%), the national renewable energy champion, have confirmed being at an advanced stage of discussions to jointly develop a portfolio of up to 800 MW, including the 300 MWp solar project that will supply Marsa LNG.

Through their joint company Marsa Liquefied Natural Gas (Marsa), TotalEnergies (80%) and OQ (20%) launch the integrated Marsa LNG project which combines:

  • upstream gas production: 150 Mcf/d of natural gas, coming from the 33.19% interest held by Marsa in the Mabrouk North-East field on onshore Block 10, which will provide the required feedstock for the LNG plant. Block 10 production started in January 2023 and reached plateau in April 2024. The FID allows Marsa LNG to extend its rights in Block 10 until its term in 2050.
  • downstream gas liquefaction: a 1 Mt/y capacity LNG liquefaction plant will be built in the port of Sohar. The LNG production is expected to start by first quarter 2028 and is primarily intended to serve the marine fuel market (LNG bunkering) in the Gulf. LNG quantities not sold as bunker fuel will be off-taken by TotalEnergies (80%) and OQ (20%).
  • renewable power generation: a dedicated 300 MWp PV solar plant will be built to cover 100% of the annual power consumption of the LNG plant, allowing a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Marsa LNG plant will be 100% electrically driven and supplied with solar power, positioning the site as one of the lowest GHG emissions intensity LNG plants ever built worldwide, with a GHG intensity below 3 kg CO2e/boe. (for reference, the average emission intensity of LNG plants is around 35 kg CO2e/boe - this represents a reduction in emissions of more than 90%).

The main Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts have been awarded to Technip Energies for the LNG plant and to CB&I for the 165,000 m3 LNG tank.

The Marsa LNG project will generate long-term employment opportunities and significant socio-economic benefits for the city of Sohar and the region.

The first LNG bunkering hub in the Middle East

The ambition of the Marsa LNG project is to serve as the first LNG bunkering hub in the Middle East, showcasing an available and competitive alternative marine fuel to reduce the shipping industry's emissions. 

“We are proud to open a new chapter in our history in the Sultanate of Oman with the launch of the Marsa LNG project, together with our partner OQ, demonstrating our long-term commitment to the country. We are especially pleased to deploy the two pillars of our transition strategy, LNG and renewables, and thus support the Sultanate on a new scale in the sustainable development of its energy resources”, said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies.

“This very innovative project illustrates our pioneer spirit and showcases the relevance of our integrated multi-energy strategy, with the ambition of being a responsible player in the energy transition. By paving the way for the next generation of very low emission LNG plants, Marsa LNG is contributing to making gas a long-term transition energy.”

 

Photo credit: TotalEnergies
Published: 24 April 2024

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Biofuel

Carras “Aquataurus” bulker becomes world’s first vessel to receive ABS Biofuel-1 notation

Notation is assigned to vessels that use a biofuel blend of up to and including 30% bio fuel in compliance with IMO and ABS requirements, says ABS.

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Carras “Aquataurus” bulker becomes world’s first vessel to receive ABS Biofuel-1 notation

Carras (Hellas) S.A. received the ABS Biofuel-1 notation for its Aquataurus ultramax bulk carrier, the first vessel in the world to qualify, according to the classification society on Tuesday (23 April).

The notation is assigned to vessels that use a biofuel blend of up to and including 30% biofuel in compliance with IMO and ABS requirements.

ABS said biofuels’ suitability with existing power generation systems makes them a drop-in solution without the need for equipment retrofits or vessel redesign. 

The Aquataurus is equipped with a Wartsilla main engine and three auxiliary Yanmar engines and will serve trade routes worldwide.

“We are very proud to support Carras (Hellas) S.A. in their initiative to use biofuels as part of their sustainability strategy. Drop-in biofuels are a ‘here-now’ solution since they take advantage of existing fuel transport and bunkering infrastructure. ABS is well-positioned to use our deep industry knowledge of alternative fuels to support clients along their decarbonization journey,” said Stamatis Fradelos, ABS Vice President, Regulatory Affairs.

“Carras (Hellas) S.A. is pleased to be working with ABS to support our common goal of  reducing fleet emissions for the benefit of the environment. The use of biofuels allows shipowners to reduce their fleet carbon intensity without the cost of expensive retrofits or investments in newbuildings, and we are excited to be pioneers, together with ABS, of obtaining the assignment of the Biofuel-1 notation to Aquataurus,” said Captain Costas Liadis, President of Carras (Hellas) S.A.

 

Photo credit: ABS
Published: 24 April 2024

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