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IMO 2020

FOBAS service update: S2020 – 18 Months to go!

Updates on fuel supply chain, IMO, progress of ISO 8217 and 0.50% VLSFO quality concerns.




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The following update has been provided by the Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS):

This bulletin is an update to our previous bulletin addressing key questions related to the implementation of MARPOL Annex VI regulation 14.1.3 coming into force on 1st January 2020. Consistent implementation of the regulation (outside ECA-SOx), quality, and availability of 0.50% VLSFO (Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oils) remain the main talking points at various industry forums.

An Update on the Fuel Supply Chain

It is anticipated that the majority of ship operators will switch to 0.50% VLSFO to comply with the regulation. This would mean refineries, storage depots and physical suppliers will have to contend with over 150 million tonnes of high sulphur residual fuel oil becoming surplus. Refiners are faced with a difficult decision to make multimillion pound-long term investments for bottom upgrading, source sweet crude or look for other outlets for high sulphur residual fuels after January 2020 when this convenient marine bunker option is no longer available. Some refineries have made a decision to invest in a coking plant, however, there are others who may be playing a waiting game on how exhaust gas scrubber markets evolve.

The IMO fuel availability study predicted that around 3,800 ships with EGCS will be in use by the implementation date; however, the figure is looking more likely to be about 1000-1500 ships. The relatively small uptake of Exhaust Gas Cleaning systems (EGCS) at this time will be unlikely to make a significant difference, despite a recent surge in orders with indications that the order slots for completion January 2020 are almost full. However, with the potentially greater price differential between high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) and 0.50% VLSFO by 2020 and short pay-back, ship owners & operators have shown increased interest in installing scrubbers on their vessels. Nevertheless, there are a number of relevant operational, logistical, technical, regulatory and commercial parameters which require careful consideration when making a decision to install an EGCS, making it a complex issue. Lloyd's Register has developed an option evaluator to help clients make an informed decision based on the specific operational profile of their vessels.

To help the fuel supply chain, we also emphasise to ship operators the need to engage in open dialogue with their charterers and suppliers on the type of fuel they will need, based on ship operations and trading pattern so that suppliers also get themselves prepared to meet the demand ahead of 1st January 2020 deadline.

Implementation - An update from IMO

During PPR5 (Pollution, Prevention and Response – an IMO sub-committee) held in March 2018, a few key areas of implementation of the regulation 14.1.3 were discussed and some actions agreed. It has been made clear that the implementation date is 1st January 2020 and there is no possibility of any delays. Secondly, PPR5 principally agreed the proposal of a carriage ban of non-compliant fuels on board after the implementation date which is expected to come into force from March 2020. It was agreed to produce a Consistent Implementation guide to cover various implementation parameters such as enforcement, safety, quality of fuel, verification, port state control, FONAR (Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report) etc. which will be presented and discussed at an intersessional PPR5 working group meeting scheduled for 9 to 13 July 2018. There have also been discussions on the requirements for ships having designated sampling points to facilitate compliance verification for port state control. A number of submissions have been made to the IMO from member states and NGO’s related to the implementation of the 0.50% regulation which are being carefully considered and taken up for discussion. We (LR) is actively participating in these discussions as a recognised organisation and we will keep our clients informed of the developments.

Progress of ISO TC28/SC4/WG6 (ISO 8217)

A question of whether ISO 8217 provides coverage for all marine distillate and residual fuel oils remains an important discussion point. As it stands today, ISO 8217 provides coverage to all marine fuels, however in view of the expected variations in 0.50% S fuels, we anticipate further guidance from the ISO and CIMAC fuels working groups on how best to order and manage these less familiar formulations.

ISO TC28/SC4/WG6 is mainly working on the development of PAS 23263 (Publically Available Specification – an insert to the latest ISO 8217) which will specifically address the 0.50% sulphur fuels quality. At the moment, it is not clear when exactly the PAS 23263 will be available, however considering industry pressure on this front, it is expected somewhere around mid-2019. Secondly, there has been lot of concern with regards to the stability of future fuels. An ISO sub-group has been actively working to evaluate and conclude the most appropriate test method(s) to determine the stability of new fuel formulations.

0.50% VLSFO Quality Concerns

One of the main quality concerns is the long-term storage stability and compatibility between two different bunkers. Stability is mainly a supplier’s issue, as they are responsible for supplying a stable blend to the vessel. However, controlled mixing or complete segregation on-board between two potentially incompatible fuels is the vessels responsibility. Thus there needs to be an increased awareness amongst all stake-holders on issues which can originate from unstable fuels and two stable but incompatible fuels. To help ship operators, the FOBAS team is looking into the existing compatibility test method and any alternative methods which may be more suited to the new fuel formulations. Subsequently we will provide guidance alongside specific compatibility testing to help effectively manage the future blends.

Secondly, there is a high probability of paraffinic blends making their way into the marine bunker market, which will not only increase the need to address higher pour points but also the general cold flow properties of fuels. It is expected that the majority of the 0.50% VLSFO will be light residual products with viscosity between the current distillate (DM) and residual (RMG) grades of ISO 8217. Moreover, relatively lighter blends would make it easier for any catfines to readily separate, however this may warrant increased monitoring and cleaning to remove accumulated catfines from tank bottoms.

Whilst at this time not many 0.50% products are around, our data however indicates that there are naturally low sulphur heavy fuel blends being supplied in specific locations around the world such as South America, West Africa and North Africa. Moreover from China and Thailand, likely due to the 0.50% Chinese emission control regulation. We have also been receiving 0.50% VLSFO samples for analysis which appear to be blended products to comply with the regional maximum 0.50% sulphur regulation. We (FOBAS) have started to develop the characterisation of the 0.50% VLSFO with currently available fuels and will continue to do so as various suppliers bring VLSFO to the market in run up to the 2020 deadline.

Please note that Lloyds Register FOBAS have also produced specific guideline titled ‘Sulphur 2020: What’s your plan?’ to facilitate the ship operators plan for upcoming regulation. We will continue to provide updates as and when there are significant developments to keep you informed.

Published: 2 July, 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.





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.





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.





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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