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Chairman of Technical Committee for Bunkering explains SS 660, TR 80; and cast an eye to the future

07 Oct 2020

The following interview is part of event coverage for the upcoming Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) 2020; where Manifold Times is an official media partner:

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Wednesday (7 October) launched SS 660:2020 and TR 80:2020 to support the global adoption of the Coriolis mass flow meter system. Shipping and maritime stakeholders can confidently apply these standards to their respective ports and ecosystem and reap the benefits of bunker quantity assurance and overall operational efficiency.

SS 660:2020 and TR 80:2020 were developed by Singapore’s Technical Committee (TC) for Bunkering, which comes under the Chemical Standards Committee (CSC) of the Singapore Standards Council (SSC).

As the national standards body, ESG administers the Singapore standardisation programme through an industry-led SSC. The Standards Development Organisation at Singapore Chemical Industry Council (SDO@SCIC) manages the standards review and development of the CSC and its TCs which include TC for Bunkering.

According to the Chairman of the Technical Committee for Bunkering, both new bunkering standards build upon the success of SS 648:2019 (Code of Practice for Bunker Mass Flow Metering) which earlier took effect at Singapore port on 1 May, 2020.

“With the publication of these new standards and the launch of SS 648 in November 2019, the Technical Committee for Bunkering completes a trinity of MFM bunkering standards that enhances the integrity and trust on bunkering in Singapore,” Seah Khen Hee told Manifold Times.

He was in an interview with the Singapore bunker publication when he explained how SS 660:2020 and TR 80:2020 enhance marine refuelling operations at the world’s largest bunkering port.

SS 660:2020 – Bunker Cargo Delivery from Oil Terminal to Bunker Tanker using a MFM

“SS 660 is a Singapore Standard that specifies how a MFM system is set up and operated for the measurement and custody transfer of bunker cargo from an oil terminal to a bunker tanker, similarly as to how SS 648 governs MFM system setup and operation on bunker tankers,” explains Seah.

“In summary, SS 660 similarly follows the requirements and procedures of SS 648 such as 0.5% expanded measurement uncertainty, requirements for system integrity, metering procedure, and more, but adapted to the oil terminal interface.

“SS 660 offers local bunker players better inventory accounting and management by using a consistent accurate measurement [MFM technology] and custody transfer where the supply chain starts from the terminal and ends with final delivery of fuel to receiving vessels under SS 648.”

A feature of SS 660 is the requirement of having parties collect a representative bunker sample at the manifold of the bunker tanker during custody transfer to promote fair playing field and trade practices – all in the name of enhancing Singapore’s reputation as a bunkering port.

According to Seah, the Working Group appointed by the Technical Committee for Bunkering took about one and a half years, including going through various approval stages to reach a consensus on the requirements, procedures, and a balance of interests among stakeholders for SS 660.

“The development involved representatives and experts in the entire bunker supply chain,” he said.

“This includes terminals, bunker suppliers, bunker tanker operators, bunker surveyors, fuel testing labs, meter vendors, , and local authorities such as the ESG, National Metrology Centre (NMC), and MPA. We also included oil traders for the first time.”

TR 80:2020 – Meter Verification using Master Mass Flow Meter

Perhaps most widely anticipated by bunker suppliers, local bunker tanker owners/operators, and international shipping associations and companies is the introduction of Technical Reference (TR) 80 which governs meter verification using a master MFM to uphold and maintain integrity and trust in MFM bunkering.

Industry players regard the master meter as a “game changer” for the Singapore bunkering sector when officially introduced as it shortens the time and reduces resources required for bunker MFM verification.

Meter verification as prescribed in TR 80 involves the comparison of readings from two MFM units (i.e. duty MFM and master MFM).

“SS 648 and SS 660 spell out the requirements for qualification and performance of the respective duty meter on board the bunker tanker and the terminal for the custody transfer of marine fuel,” notes Seah.

“Meter verification independently checks the duty MFM installed either on the bunker tanker or at the oil terminal to verify the meter performance under stable flow conditions using actual bunker fuel. The meter verification process specified in TR 80 will be undertaken by an authorised party qualified by ESG.”

TR 80 states that a master MFM has to be three times better in terms of specification when compared to duty meters.

For example, a normal duty meter can be certified for commercial use with measurement uncertainty of 0.3% under oil and water calibration; whereas a master MFM has to achieve a measurement uncertainty of 0.1% under water and oil calibration.

Duty meters can continue to be deployed for bunkering operations if the tested unit has an accuracy error of not more than +/- 0.3% when compared to the reading of the master MFM after a meter verification exercise.

The +/- 0.3% error requirement is drawn upon from international guidelines such as OIML R117, and validated using results and findings obtained from a qualified master meter during local trials, informs Seah.

“The Working Group (WG) was appointed by the TC for Bunkering and comprised experts representing all relevant stakeholders, including bunker suppliers, bunker tanker owners/operators, bunker surveyors, fuel testing labs, meter vendors, , oil terminal, ESG, National Metrology Centre (NMC), and MPA,” he adds.

“The WG took about 12 months including going through various approval stages, to come out with TR 80. It is a world-first standard for bunkering and is practically developed from scratch.”

A Technical Reference is a ‘fast tracked’ document when compared to a Singapore Standard.

“TR 80 reflects the consensus reached by the WG based on a balance of interests,” Seah says.

“The typical life span of a Technical Reference is about three years, but we expect to upgrade TR 80 into a Singapore Standard well within this period.”

Seah thinks that these new standards will catalyse new developments, both locally and internationally.

“Locally, with SS 648 and SS660 covering custody transfer at the two key transaction interfaces of the local bunker supply chain, the stage is set for the TC for Bunkering to leverage on these standards and consider a new bunkering standard that applies blockchain technology,” he explained.

“Such a standard will help companies better track bunker quantity and quality as the bunker inventory is moved or transacted along the oil and bunker supply chain. Secured unique bunker data and documents enabled by blockchain technology is a way to promote trust as a basis for business among a wider group of stakeholders including financial institutions.

“Internationally, there is an opportunity for the development of new ISO MFM bunkering standards based on these new standards, much like how TR 48/SS 648 went on the ISO route. ISO 21562 has been published in July 2020 and ISO 22192 is expected to be published by end of the year; both developments of which are led or co-led by Singapore and are based on TR 48/SS 648.”

SIBCON 2020 will be the conference during which delegates will have an opportunity to listen to the speakers on their presentation on bunkering standards, and to address their questions at the Roundtable which follows.

A series of SIBCON 2020 related articles have been earlier written by Manifold Times:

Related: SIBCON 2020: TR 48 reaps annual savings of at least SGD 80 million for bunkering sector
Related: SIBCON 2020: Singapore introduces new MFM bunkering standards SS 660 and TR 80
Related: SIBCON 2020: Powering Fuels of the Future, Driving towards Decarbonisation
Related: SIBCON 2020: Senior Minister highlights ‘quality resilience and sustainability’ for bunkering sector
RelatedInfineum explains: ISO 8217:2017 should be viewed as a ‘minimum performance benchmark’ for VLSFOs
RelatedInterview: Hafnia shares IMO 2020 preparations, promotes transparency for bunkering operations
RelatedVPS: Shipowners face ‘tricky situation’ to balance VLSFO shelf life and wax appearance temperature
RelatedVPS: Big data analysis reveals link between Covid-19 and spike in low flashpoint MGO off-spec cases
RelatedInterview: Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions discusses sector growth, IMO 2020, and future plans
RelatedSIBCON 2020: Evolution to a ‘completely different’ bunkering industry event, says organiser
RelatedSingapore: SIBCON 2020 bunkering event to be hosted virtually


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 7 October, 2020

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