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Integr8 Fuels publishes its first Bunker Quality Trends Report

Fuel with the highest incidence of off specification continues to be VLSFO at 1.7%, followed by HSFO at 1.2% and MGO at 1.0%, according to the 2022 report.

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Integr8 Fuels, the bunker trading and brokerage arm of Navig8, on Wednesday (14 September) shared with Manifold Times its first Bunker Quality Trends where it examines and compares likelihood of off specification issues across all commercial grades of bunkers and key ports. An excerpt of the report is as follows:

This is the first Integr8 Fuels Bunker Quality Trends Report covering the last six months of supplies globally, where we dissect and compare the likelihood of off specification issues across all commercial grades of bunkers and key ports. Using data from approximately 35,000 deliveries, we will also assess fuel quality trends using our own Integr8 Quality Index which scores the proximity (or otherwise) of individual parameters within each sample to the relevant Table 1 or Table 2 specification limits within ISO 8217. We will also consider the availability of fuels in general, what specifications are being guaranteed, and the potential for hidden losses which must never be ignored when purchasing given the current commercial backdrop.

How likely are we to be faced with an off specification situation?

The last 180 days owners’ analysis available to Integr8 Fuels has highlighted that you are most likely to have an off specification issue (Note 1) with High Sulphur Fuel Oil (HSFO) followed by Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) and then Marine Gas Oil (MGO). (Fig. 1)

Integr8 Fuels publishes first Bunker Quality Trends Report

What is the likelihood of receiving non-compliant or critically off-spec bunkers? 

It is important, however, to consider the context of the off-specification incidents. To do this it is essential to consider the likelihood of Marpol (Sulphur) or SOLAS (Flash Point) compliance and the likelihood of Critical Off Specification Incidents such as Cat-Fines, Total Sediment, Used Lubricating Oil, Sodium and Ash Content (High Risk) against routine and easily rectifiable off specification issues classified “low risk” such as high viscosity in HSFO. 

Purely on likelihood of an off specification occurrence we are more likely to have one with HSFO than VLSFO or MGO however at least double these are considered low risk. 

Turning our attention to compliance Low and Very Low Sulphur Fuels, these fare far worse with us being approximately three times more likely to have a Sulphur or Flash Point off Spec incident with VLSFO and MGO, than HSFO, which are only found to be non-compliant in three deliveries per thousand. 

Critical off specification issues such as Metals and Sediment are seen to be just as likely in HSFO as VLSFO but are very unlikely in Marine Gas Oils. 

Finally, when we combine both compliance and high risk off specifications, the fuel with the highest incidence of off specification continues to be VLSFO at 1.7%, followed by HSFO at 1.2% and MGO at 1.0%. There are many nuances, from geographical to port-to-port and even supplier-to-supplier. It therefore remains essential to consider these when buying bunkers and we will address some of the challenges later in the paper.

Availabilty of Products

Unsurprisingly, Marine Gas Oil is the most available product (567 ports) given the ability to substitute and supply higher quality inland or automotive grades and the ease of logistics to supply what are quite often small quantities.

VLSFO is also seen to be readily available across all continents but at 17% fewer ports (463). This is because of larger quantities being ordered and the storage and barges needed to support these supplies in general.

High Sulphur Fuel Oil is the only product which is not readily available with only 187 ports listed, as of August 2022 (Fig. 2). HSFO availability is concentrated around bunkering hubs and geographically key areas likely to receive passing trade from Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) and / or other scrubber fitted sectors. It is important, therefore, to plan bunkering carefully for HSFO and equally consider the type of scrubber fitted to the vessel and any local limitations in forthcoming voyages that may require a fuel switch to Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oil (LSMGO) for example.

Integr8 Fuels publishes first Bunker Quality Trends Report

Availability of Grades 

The fact that four ISO 8217 grades are still being requested remains one of the greatest challenges for the industry to address. Which other industry would even allow a fuel to be supplied using a specification that is obsolete, twice since revised, and 17 years old? 

Indeed, during the period assessed for the report, 11.6% of all fuels supplied by Integr8 Fuels were still only guaranteed to 2005 specifications. Drilling into this further, it can be seen in the charts below that this is predominantly a distillate issue, with 16% of these fuels being still sold as 2005 (Fig 3) compared to only 2% of residual fuels. (Fig. 4)

Integr8 Fuels publishes first Bunker Quality Trends Report

Integr8 Fuels publishes first Bunker Quality Trends Report

It is positive news that at least for residual fuels we are seeing 2005 specifications becoming virtually obsolete probably because of two main drivers. Firstly, fewer customers are now requesting 2005 specifications given the added protection afforded for critical parameters like Catalyst Fines (Aluminium and Silicon ) and Sodium with 2010 (or later) specifications, and secondly, suppliers have in general moved away from 2005 specifications because of their position being more problematic when faced with the inevitable notice relating to Clause 5 or chemicals and added substances. 

The same, however, cannot be said for distillate fuels with almost a fifth of fuels still being sold to this 17-year-old specification, the supply of which is particularly prevalent in the Indian subcontinent with pockets noted elsewhere, one such area being the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Integr8 Fuels publishes first Bunker Quality Trends Report

It is therefore important to consider what issues may arise because of only obtaining 2005 specification and where you may face this issue. 

Firstly, 2005 specifications offer no guarantee for Lubricity, Oxidation Stability, Acid number or Hydrogen Sulphide and whilst it is rare that issues arise, the added cover for a fuel which may have aged afforded by the Oxidation stability parameter is an important one. 

Of greater concern is the fact that a supplier is afforded more scope with regard minimum Viscosity guarantees which allows a minimum level of 1.5cSt rather than 2.0cSt for 2005 compared to 2010 specs and beyond. Such low levels can be particularly problematic to vessels which do not have the ability to cool the fuel given the need to inject the fuel at a minimum of 2cSt stipulated by most engine manufacturers and the possibility of fuel pump issues or even loss of propulsion as a result. 

Cross referencing back to the eastern seaboard we note that around 25 percent of all samples testing below 2.0cSt in the last 180 days, this in a location where we may have no guarantee to protect us from this issue (Fig 5). Indeed in the port of Norfolk (Vi.) where only 2005 specifications are available, 65% of all samples have recently tested under 2cSt for Viscosity. Therefore, if bunkering in the USA and particularly the eastern seaboard it is highly recommended to purchase 2010 specification or higher. 

Note: Manifold Times will be publishing part II of the Integr8 Bunker Quality Trends Report tomorrow. 

Photo credit: Integr8 Fuels
Published: 15 September, 2022

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Fuel Testing

Singapore: CTI-Maritec shares testing protocols ahead of mandatory enhanced bunker fuel checks

In light of mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, CTI-Maritec shares recommendations for fuel testing protocols, primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore.

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Louis Reed from Unsplash

With mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, bunker fuel testing and marine surveying business Maritec Pte Ltd (CTI-Maritec) has published a newsletter providing recommendations on vital pre-emptive fuel testing measures vessels should be taking as part of their routine fuel testing and also recommendations on optimal testing options available when deep-dive analysis is required to determine a root cause: 

Introduction

On 8 February 2024 the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issued a Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024 regarding the implementation of enhanced testing parameters for marine fuel batches intended to be delivered as bunkers in the Port of Singapore in addition to the existing quality assurance measures.

In accordance with the MPA’s Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024, from 1 June 2024 onwards, bunker suppliers in the Port of Singapore must ensure that:

  • Residual & Bio-residual bunker fuel do not contain Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC) above 50mg/kg and are free from inorganic acids.
  • COC must be tested using the EN 14077 accredited test method and shall be reported in the “Certificate of Quality” (COQ) provided to receiving vessels.
  • Inorganic acids must use the ASTM D664 accredited test method as prescribed in ISO 8217 and the Strong Acid Number (SAN) (in addition to the Total Acid Number (TAN) shall be reported in the COQ (i.e. SAN = 0) provided to receiving vessels. For distillate / bio-distillate bunker marine fuel batches, SAN must be tested as per ASTM D664 test method and reported in the COQ.
  • Residual marine fuels are free from polystyrene, polypropylene & polymethacrylate. These can be tested by filtration, microscopic examination, & Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy analysis.

Testing Recommendations in line with MPA Enhanced Parameters to Protect Your Vessels:

In view of the above, CTI-Maritec recommends fuel testing protocols as depicted in the chart below (as routine pre-emptive measures and/or for deep dive requirements to detect the root cause) to help safeguard vessel health.

Our recommendations are primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore, while recommendations for testing Polymers are advised for requirements of reported problem cases or when highly abnormal GCMS findings of chemical compounds like Styrene, DCPD and Indene are detected.

COC & SAN GCMS testing Packages A to E

Related: Singapore: CTI-Maritec publishes whitepaper on upcoming mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: Marine fuel quality testing agencies applaud move for mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: MPA tightens testing parameters to reduce contaminated bunker fuels
Related: MPA: Glencore and PetroChina supplied contaminated bunkers to about 200 ships in the Port of Singapore

 

Photo credit: Louis Reed from Unsplash
Published: 29 May 2024

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Methanol

VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Firm was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol bunker fuel delivery to “Eco Maestro” in Singapore.

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VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Tuesday (28 May) said it was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe, part of the OCI Global Group, to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol fuel delivery to Eco Maestro in Singapore.

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS, said VPS survey experts Rafael Theseira and Muhd Nazmi Abdul Rahim were at hand during the methanol bunkering to ensure the 300 metric tonnes of methanol transfer was carried out smoothly, having been involved in the first methanol bunkering a year ago. 

Manifold Times recently reported X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) successfully completing the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) in Singapore.

A X-Press Feeder container vessel, Eco Maestro, on its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300 mt of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the SIMOPS was produced by green methanol producer OCI Global and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier.

Captain Choudhuri said the role of the marine, petroleum or bunker surveyor has evolved over the years in shipping and maritime affairs, but the principles have not - and that is to provide independent assessment of the quality and quantity of the product transfer. 

“This may seem obvious but this quality and quantity control is crucial to avoid commercial discrepancies, shortages or fraud,” he said.

“Safety training is critical and we have been on top of this having completed the required MPA fire-fighting course and the IBIA Methanol training course. We will work more with the Singapore Maritime Academy for trainings in future,” he added.

In August last year, Singapore-headquartered independent common carrier X-Press Feeders launched its first ever dual-fuel vessel Eco Maestro in China.

Manifold Times previously reported VPS stating it was the first company to complete a methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) operation in Singapore on 27 July last year.

VPS was appointed by Maersk and Hong Lam Marine Pte Ltd, to undertake the very first bunker quantity survey (BQS) of a methanol fuel delivery, supplied by Hong Lam to the Maersk vessel on its maiden voyage to Europe. 

Related: First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore
Related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Related: X-Press Feeders launches its first methanol dual-fuel vessel “Eco Maestro” in China

 

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 29 May 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor; Gasum’s bunker vessels “Coralius”, “Kairos” and “Coral Energy” will be used for the bunkering operations.

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Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Nordic liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker supplier Gasum on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a long-term contract with Norway-based global energy company Equinor whereby Gasum continues to supply LNG to Equinor’s dual-fuel chartered fleet of vessels. 

The agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor. Gasum’s bunker vessels Coralius, Kairos and Coral Energy will be used for the bunkering operations.

The agreement also includes additional support services such as cooling down and gassing up, which has also been a part of Gasum’s previous collaboration with Equinor. 

Gasum has organised three separate LNG cool down operations for Equinor in Skagen so far this year.

Both Gasum and Equinor have committed to sustainability goals to enable a cleaner energy future. Equinor’s ambition is to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

Using LNG in maritime transport means complete removal of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particles, and reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of up to 85 percent as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions by at least 20%. LNG is interchangeable with liquefied biogas (LBG/bio-LNG), which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to conventional fuel such as marine gasoil (MGO).

With LNG and bio-LNG the maritime industry can reduce emissions already today, instead of waiting for future solutions. Gasum’s strategic goal is to bring yearly seven terawatt hours (7 TWh) of renewable gas to market by 2027. Achieving this goal would mean combined carbon dioxide reduction of 1.8 million tons per year for Gasum’s customers.

Related: Equinor Energy AS extends LNG bunkering agreement with Gasum
Related: Gasum expands LNG bunkering business to ARA region through partnership with Equinor

 

Photo credit: Gasum
Published: 29 May 2024

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