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IMO 2020

ExxonMobil: Organising the switch to low sulphur fuel

John LaRese, Marine Fuels Technical Advisor, ExxonMobil provides some pointers to Manifold Times readers.

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By John LaRese, Marine Fuels Technical Advisor, ExxonMobil

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) decision to implement a 0.50 per cent cap on sulphur emissions has created uncertainty amongst vessel operators. Questions are already being asked about how to comply with the changing emissions target, what types of fuels will be available and where. However, ensuring compliance isn’t just about fuel selection; the actual switchover process from heavy fuel oil (HFO) to new, low-sulphur alternatives needs careful management. There are also implications for the selection of lubricants.

A series of important steps need to be taken before bunkering a low-sulphur fuel; vessel operators will therefore have to work out arrangements that meet the specific requirements of their vessels. Significantly, without careful preparation operators may jeopardise their sulphur compliance, which carries the risk of costly fines. They must also plan around fuel availability, given the possibility that some ports may be unable to meet the demand from the industry.

Tank cleaning
Unless a vessel is fitted with a scrubber, operators will need to ensure that their fuel tanks do not contain high-sulphur HFO by the IMO deadline. Fuel tanks will probably retain sediment from the existing HFO, which is likely to contain those higher levels of sulphur. If this is not removed, there is the risk that the sulphur will contaminate the compliant fuel, pushing its sulphur content above the 0.50 per cent limit.

ExxonMobil expects that many compliant fuels entering the market will have a sulphur content very close to the 0.50 per cent cap, so even very low levels of residual sulphur left in a fuel tank could tip a vessel over the IMO’s compliance limit.

To minimise this risk, ExxonMobil recommends that vessel operators flush fuel tanks with a distillate-based product, which will help remove sludge deposits. This process may need to be repeated, depending on the amount of residue present. In some instances, tank bottoms may have to be manually cleaned.

The fuel used to flush tanks could contain damaging levels of cat fines, which will require on-board treatment. Vessel operators must factor in how long these processes could take and keep in mind that any sludge removed from the tanks will need to be disposed of properly.

Operators should remember that the storage, handling and treatment of 0.50 per cent sulphur fuels will involve bunkering fuels of a wider variety of viscosities, types and formulations than seen today. On-board handling practices have to take into account likely changes in fuel types, including fuel segregation and routine compatibility testing.

Running down cylinder oil stocks
One benefit of the 0.50 per cent sulphur cap is that vessels will be able to streamline their lubricant inventory as only one cylinder oil will be required. Vessels with scrubbers will continue to use HFO and high-BN oils, while those who choose to switch to low-sulphur fuels will need correspondingly low-BN formulations. These vessels must deplete their stocks of high-BN cylinder oils prior to the IMO deadline to avoid waste and disposal costs.

To ensure compliance, ExxonMobil recommends that vessel operators work with suppliers who have adopted the latest ISO 8217:2017 fuel standard and have the proven technical expertise to help them navigate the upcoming changes.

About John LaRese
John LaRese is the Technical Advisor for ExxonMobil Marine Fuels.  He has been with ExxonMobil for over 39 years. 

Most of his career was spent onboard affiliate Tankers as a Chief Engineer, sailing onboard affiliate VLCCs, Product and Chemical Tankers.  Since coming onshore, he has had a number of other assignments such as an Energy Conservation Specialist, Contract Negotiator, Ships Superintendent, Fleet Operations Support Manager, auditor and trainer of senior officers specializing in vessel management and safety.  He has been ExxonMobil’s Marine Fuels Technical Manager since 2009.  A large portion of his current position focuses on the development of 0.5% Sulphur Compliant Marine Fuels. 

Mr. LaRese graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1979 with a B.S. in Marine Engineering

Published: 24 August, 2018
 

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LNG Bunkering

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

Bunker barge “FlexFueler001” delivered 110 mt of LNG bunker fuel to chemical tanker “Liselotte Esberger”, marking a milestone since it was the first time Titan delivered to a vessel of E&S Tankers.

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Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

LNG bunker fuel supplier Titan on Monday (19 February) said it executed a successful LNG bunkering operation for E&S Tankers, a joint venture of Essberger Tankers and Stolt Tankers as an operator of chemical tankers within Europe. 

The refuelling operation took place at the port of Antwerp on 15 January. 

“Our vessel, FlexFueler001, flawlessly delivered 110 mt of LNG to the Liselotte Esberger, marking a milestone since it is the first time we deliver to a vessel of E&S Tankers,” it said in a social media post. 

“This operation underscores our dedication to sustainable shipping practices and showcases our commitment to environmentally friendly solutions. We're proud to collaborate with E&S Tankers and look forward to furthering our shared mission.”

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

According to E&S Tankers website, the 7,135 dwt Liselotte Essberger arrived in Hamburg from a shipyard in China on 5 December 2023 and was christened the following day.  

The vessel is first of a total of four newbuildings ordered by the firm that are equipped with LNG dual-fuel engines.

Related: E&S Tankers launches second LNG dual fuel chemical tanker “John T. Essberger”

 

Photo credit: Titan and E&S Tankers
Published: 20 February, 2024

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Shipping Corridor

Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan’s top two busiest routes can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year, says Korean NPO Solutions for Our Climate.

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Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Korea-based non-profit organisation Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC) on Tuesday (13 February) said creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan's top two busiest routes – Busan-Tokyo and Yokohama; Busan-Los Angeles and Long Beach– can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year. 

This is equivalent to annual emissions from over 9 million passenger vehicles in the United States.

“We evaluated the anticipated impact of several proposed KoreaUnited States-Japan green shipping corridors involving ports of Busan (KRPUS), Incheon (KRINC), and Gwangyang (KRKAN) —South Korea’s three major container ports,” SFOC said in the report. 

Each of the three South Korean ports will have the most significant environmental impact if connected to ports of Tokyo (JPTYO)/Yokohama (JPYOK) in Japan and ports of Los Angeles (USLAX)/Long Beach (USLGB) in the United States. 

“If container ships that travel KRPUS – JPTYO/ JPYOK and KRPUS – USLAX/USLGB are converted to zero emission ships, we can expect significant reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions, approximately 20.7 million tCO2 and 20.6 million tCO2, respectively,” it added. 

Accordingly, reducing GHG emissions in the global maritime shipping will require coordinated multilateral commitments and actions.

The green shipping corridor initiative is a global effort to align the shipping industry with the 1.5°C trajectory. It aims to:

  • Create maritime routes in which mainly zero-emission ships travel
  • Run ports with 100 percent renewable energy
  • Enforce mandatory use of on-shore power for docked vessels.

“With increasing global shipping emissions, green corridors are key to decarbonising the sector,” SFOC said. 

“Our latest report on green corridors comes on the heels of South Korea and the United States' announcement to work together to implement cross-country green shipping corridors between several of their key ports.”

 

Photo credit: Solutions for Our Climate
Published: 14 February, 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Ports of Rotterdam and Shannon Foynes to develop European green fuels supply chain corridor

Ports will also potentially work together on market development in this new market and jointly find final off-takers for supplies from Ireland including maritime fuels sector.

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Ports of Rotterdam and Shannon Foynes to develop European green fuels supply chain corridor

Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, on Tuesday (30 January) said it has signed an agreement with Ireland’s largest bulk port Shannon Foyne with a view to developing a supply-chain corridor for exporting green fuels into Europe produced from the west of Ireland’s limitless wind resource.

The agreement will focus on market and trade development for vast volumes of green hydrogen and its derivatives produced at the planned international green energy hub on the Shannon Estuary. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the ports identifies significant and identified scale-up volumes of green hydrogen commencing with proof-of-concept volumes by 2030.

Europe’s overall green hydrogen strategy for 2030 is to import 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030 for use in heavy industry and transport sectors that are traditionally reliant on coal, natural gas, and oil. The Port of Rotterdam intends to facilitate volumes of 40 million tonnes from across the world by 2050, a significant proportion of which can come from the Atlantic resource.

Further opportunities will also be explored under the MOU, including building coalitions with interested and suitable commercial parties and adding other parties to the MOU to help achieve a joint supply chain process for delivering the first proof-of-concept volumes before 2030.

The MOU also provides for engaging relevant public stakeholders to support the initiative and sharing of information regarding the potential supply of green hydrogen and green hydrogen derivatives, such as green ammonia, green methanol, etc, as well as sharing best practice information on areas such as desalination, high voltage electricity, industrial clustering around the H2 molecule and green ship bunkering processes.

The two ports will also potentially work together on market development in this new market and jointly finding final off-takers for supplies from Ireland. These would include maritime fuels sector, sustainable aviation fuels, green fertiliser and facilities with direct green hydrogen fuel requirements such as the steel industry.

René van der Plas, Director International at the Port of Rotterdam, said: “The port of Rotterdam is already Europe’s leading energy hub and recognises the significance and opportunity for all European citizens and industries arising from the green transition. To that end, hydrogen is one of our priorities and we are working hard towards establishing infrastructure, facilities and partnerships that will help deliver on this.

“This agreement with Shannon Foynes Port is one such partnership and can support our efforts to set up supply chain corridors for the import of green hydrogen into north-west Europe from countries elsewhere with high potential for green and low carbon hydrogen production. Shannon Foynes Port is an ideal partner in that respect.”

Patrick Keating, CEO of Shannon Foynes Port Company, said: “With the largest wind resource in Europe off our west coast, we have the opportunity to become Europe’s leading renewable energy generation hub. That will deliver transformational change for Ireland in terms of energy independence and an unprecedented economic gain in the process. In delivering on this, too, we can make our biggest ever contribution to the European project as we become a very significant contributor to REPowerEU, Europe’s plan to end reliance on fossil fuels.

“We can produce an infinite supply of renewable energy here and there are already a number of routes to market emerging for that energy. One such route to market is the development of a supply chain into Europe.”

“This agreement with the Port of Rotterdam is a key step towards enabling that. The port of Rotterdam already works on introducing the fuels and feedstocks of the future with major oil and gas companies and its broader port community of over 3,000 commercial companies. It can be a key supply chain corridor for exporting green fuels from the Shannon Estuary into Europe. This is very significant recognition and validation of the potential for hydrogen production generated in Ireland to be exported into Europe.”

 

Photo credit: Port of Rotterdam
Published: 31 January, 2024

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