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Argus Media viewpoint: European marine fuels to feel diesel crunch

Russian oil products ban will affect Europe’s diesel supply most acutely, with the continent still relying on Russia for as much as 52% of its diesel imports in November.




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European marine fuels markets are set for a shake-up in 2023 when EU sanctions on Russian oil products come into effect, as a likely middle distillate supply crunch is being met with mixed demand signals.

21 December 2022

From 5 February all remaining imports of Russian oil products must be halted in the EU — after crude sanctions already took effect on 5 December — as part of the EU's sixth package of sanctions against Russia in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The ban will affect Europe's diesel supply most acutely, with the continent still relying on Russia for as much as 52pc of its diesel imports in November. But it will have a knock-on effect on supply of marine gasoil (MGO) too, with the shortfall likely to push diesel margins up early in the year and incentivise refiners to produce as much road diesel as possible at the expense of other gasoils, such as MGO.

Reduced MGO availabilities are already being recorded in Europe's delivered bunker markets, with some refiners already reported to have issued bunker suppliers with warnings of possible shortages in 2023.

This anticipated drop in supply could be offset by steady availabilities of marine fuel oil grades. High-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) with 3.5pc sulphur remains well-supplied in Europe and prices have remained broadly dampened in recent months, even though Russia has traditionally constituted the lead exporter of that product to Europe. Russian HSFO supplies to Europe were curtailed in August by EU coal sanctions, because heavy fuel oil is shipped under the same EU customs code. But falling Russian imports have been balanced by increased shipments from Saudi Arabia, Greece and the UAE.

Very-low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) supplies are also likely to buoyed into 2023 by strong production in Europe and the Mideast Gulf. The start-up of KPC's new 615,000 b/d Al-Zour refinery will increase global VLSFO supply by as much as 10mn-12mn t/yr, which will either contribute to European stocks or displace European supply on its key arbitrage route to Asia-Pacific.

Supply of marine fuel oils will also depend on European refineries' crude slates, and it remains to be seen how the continent will adjust without Russian Urals crude. Alternative medium-sour grades from the Mideast Gulf or Norway — the second phase of the Johan Sverdrup field started production in December — could support residual fuel oil output, but conversely, in the event of stiff competition for those grades, Europe could move to a lighter sweeter slate, cutting residual fuel yields.

Demand signals

Bunkering demand from containerships could decrease in 2023. The global shipping industry is at the mercy of recessionary pressures — economic slowdowns typically restrict the chartering and movement of goods along international shipping lines. International container trades makes up the fourth largest shipping sector by tonne-miles — a measure of how far freight travels — after tanker, bulk and dry cargoes, with the biggest share trading along the main east-west routes.

But this could be partially offset by stronger demand for other large shipping segments. Sanctions on Russian oil will push Europe to look further afield for supplies, which is already being reflected in sharp rises in clean-tanker freight rates as tonne-miles surge. That is likely to continue into 2023 and support bunker demand from tankers.

Recent statistics from Rotterdam show increased sales across all marine fuel grades in the third quarter of 2022, but economic headwinds could strengthen in coming quarters as energy supply shortages pinch industry and inflation rises.

Demand for MGO could rise comparative to other grades, after the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) announced on 15 December that it will adopt a 0.1pc sulphur Emissions Control Area (ECA) in the Mediterranean from 2024. Shipowners will look to scale up usage of the marine gasoil ahead of then, which in a short-supplied market could support prices for the grade.

By James Marriott and Jonah Sweeney


Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 22 December, 2022

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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.





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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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.





RESIZED venti views

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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“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.





“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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