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LNG Bunkering

Integr8 sees spot LNG bunker demand pick up in evolving market

Firm’s LNG desk has recently traded several LNG stems as a volatile market encourages buyers to seek spot deals to manage their price risk.

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Integr8 Fuels on Thursday (19 October) said its LNG desk has recently traded several LNG stems as a volatile market encourages buyers to seek spot deals to manage their price risk:

LNG bunkering is typically more complex than bunkering of conventional fuels. It requires a very good understanding of the operational, commercial and contractual aspects of LNG deliveries, and Integr8 has been helping several clients through the purchasing process.

Volatility spurs spot trading

When strike action was announced by workers at two Chevron LNG plants in Australia, it sent shockwaves through the LNG market in September. While these plants primarily produce LNG for exports to Asian markets, the impact on prices was global and Europe’s benchmark TTF price surged on the news. The market feared global supply disruptions in an interconnected LNG supply chain. And this shows just how sensitive the global supply-demand balance has been to supply disruptions after Russia invaded Ukraine.

TTF Price Graph

Volatile LNG prices are here to stay for the time being, but are expected to come down and stabilise at a lower level after 2025, argues Integr8 Fuels business manager Jonathan Gaylor. “We forget that before Russia’s war with Ukraine, LNG prices were competitive against conventional marine fuels and rather stable,” he says.

LNG was priced below €500/mt in Rotterdam’s bunker market until December 2021, when it had risen gradually for about a year. When Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, it started gathering pace and rose rapidly to new highs. A year later, the price had quintupled and peaked at over €2,500/mt. It had gone from a discount to VLSFO to a three-fold premium, and this discouraged owners of dual-fuel vessels from bunkering LNG. Their fuel flexibility came on display and the market saw widespread gas-to-oil switching.

Rotterdam’s LNG price has since come off sharply. It has dipped below LSMGO and traded at parity with VLSFO. Buyers have subsequently readjusted to take advantage of the renewed pricing opportunities, and oil-to-gas switching has become more prevalent again.

LNG and conventional low-sulphur marine fuels alternate between being at a discount to one another. This discourages terming up supply in contracts and has increasingly turned buyers towards the spot market to manage their price risks and costs on a more predictable near-term basis.

A highly volatile and competitive market presents new opportunities for traders to get involved, particularly as the global LNG-capable fleet is set to more than double from just over 400 vessels now to more than 800 by 2028, according to data from classification society DNV.

Container vessels used to make up the vast majority of vessels bunkering LNG. We have recently seen more dual-fuel tramp vessels bunkering. These typically require greater flexibility in timing and location, especially for tankers. Oil and chemical tankers now make up the biggest LNG-capable vessel type, with 116 vessels in operation and another 85 on order, according to DNV data.

Price references vary between suppliers and geographies. It is quite common to link LNG stem pricing to established wholesale oil and gas benchmarks like TTF, JKM, Henry Hub and Brent to cover some exposure to price swings.

There are longer-term Brent or fuel oil price linkage options for LNG, but they will typically come at a premium for buyers. By locking in the delta on a linked price of a certain percentage, LNG prices will have a partial ceiling based on conventional fuels and buyers can pay down the premiums they paid for investments in dual-fuel engines. The rate of payback on dual-fuel vessels is expected to pick up after 2026 as global LNG supply is set to be boosted by huge new volumes from Qatar and the US, according to multiple industry forecasts.

Challenges remain

LNG stems still require longer time to fix and deliver than conventional ones and this is also probably how things will play out in the foreseeable future. In many cases, compatibility studies between delivering and receiving vessels need to be performed to ensure safe and smooth deliveries.

Integr8 has the knowledge and network to identify competitive suppliers and advice buyers on how best to streamline the bunkering process. Having an overview of and ready access to supply intelligence can certainly help to make the bunker planning and delivery process more efficient for buyers.

Outlook

  • Gas prices could easily rise on increased heating demand this winter, but will then likely come down again post winter. Especially if this winter proves that there is sufficient supply in Europe and industrial demand remains subdued.
  • The global LNG-fuelled fleet is projected to grow faster than the LNG bunker fleet is expanding. This could lead to undersupply of bunker vessels in 2025-2026, when bunker demand is on track to rise above supply capacity and LNG prices become competitive. It could pose challenges to tramp trading vessels looking for timely LNG spot bunker deliveries.
  • Looking further ahead, global gas supply is set to rise with production gains in Qatar and the US. Qatar is in the process of a major expansion of its North Field and two new LNG export terminals. A surge in exports is expected to boost US gas investments and production capacity to new highs over the next decade, with Europe as a key outlet.

Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash / Integr8 Fuels
Published: 20 October, 2023

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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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Bunker Fuel

ENGINE on Fuel Switch Snapshot: LNG costlier than VLSFO

Singapore’s VLSFO price is cheaper than LNG; LNG approaches parity with VLSFO in Rotterdam; price gap between biofuel and LNG shrinks.

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ENGINE on Fuel Switch Snapshot: LNG costlier than VLSFO

Once a week, bunker intelligence platform ENGINE will publish a snapshot of alternative and conventional bunker fuel prices in the world’s two biggest bunkering hubs. The following is the latest snapshot:

27 May 2024

  • Singapore’s VLSFO price is cheaper than LNG
  • LNG approaches parity with VLSFO in Rotterdam
  • Price gap between biofuel and LNG shrinks

LNG bunker benchmarks in Rotterdam and Singapore continue to rise sharply.

With estimated EU Allowance (EUA) costs included in bunker fuel costs, Singapore's LNG bunker price has surged $34-37/mt in the past week after a $29-30/mt jump the week prior.

After adjusting the price for calorific contents to become VLSFO-equivalent, Singapore's LNG price has flipped to a premium of $29-36/mt over its VLSFO in the past week, from a $30-36 discount noted a week prior.

Rotterdam's fossil LNG bunker price has closed even further on VLSFO by $33-34/mt over the past week, making it only $20-33/mt cheaper than VLSFO now.

Biofuel price premium in Singapore over fossil LNG has dropped by another $61-62/mt to $75-81/mt in the past week. In Rotterdam, the bio-bunker premium over LNG has narrowed by $11/mt to $156-168/mt.

VLSFO

Rotterdam's VLSFO price has mostly followed Brent's downward movement over the past week. Rotterdam’s VLSFO benchmark has declined by $11-18/mt in the past week, depending on whether the estimated EUA costs are included.

Availability of VLSFO is normal in Rotterdam, with lead times of 3-5 days recommended to ensure full coverage from suppliers, a trader said.

Singapore’s VLSFO benchmark has also tracked Brent’s movement, falling $32/mt over the past week.

Lead times for VLSFO in Singapore have exhibited significant fluctuations recently. Most suppliers now recommend lead times of up to 10 days for this grade, while some can accommodate stems within five days.

Biofuels

Rotterdam’s B24-VLSFO HBE bunker price has inched $5/mt higher in the past week. When we add estimated EUA costs, the price has gained $8-10/mt, depending on whether we are looking at voyages between EU ports or between EU ports and non-EU ports.

A huge gain in the price of palm oil mill effluent methyl ester (POMEME) feedstock – qualified for Dutch HBE rebates – has pushed the price higher. PRIMA-assessed POMEME price in the ARA has jumped by $70/mt to $1,368/mt in the past week.

In contrast, Singapore’s B24-VLSFO UCOME bunker price has slumped by $25-28/mt, depending on whether the price is adjusted with estimated EUA costs.

The price has declined amid a $10/mt drop in UCOME FOB China, according to PRIMA Markets. Chinese biodiesel exports to the EU are being investigated by the European Commission for "unfairly traded biodiesel". The ongoing investigation has dented Chinese biodiesel inflows into European countries.

LNG  

Rotterdam and Singapore’s LNG bunker prices have seen significant upticks in the past week.

Rotterdam’s LNG bunker benchmark has climbed $16-22/mt higher, depending on whether estimated EU ETS costs are included in the cost of fuel. This increase has been driven by the underlying front-month NYMEX Dutch TTF Natural Gas benchmark, which has seen an uptick due to heavy maintenance activities at Norwegian gas facilities.

Singapore’s LNG bunker benchmark has risen by a staggering $34-37/mt in the past week. The movement is influenced by the upward trend in the underlying Japan/Korea Marker (JKM) gas benchmark and prevailing trends in the Asian LNG market.

Analysts at ANZ Bank noted that “the rally in global gas prices continued amid ongoing buying from importers.” Importers such as Japan and South Korea are restocking gas inventories ahead of the Northern Hemisphere summer, further driving demand.

By Konica Bhatt

 

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 28 May 2024

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LNG Bunkering

JAX LNG and Seaside LNG complete SIMOPS LNG bunkering op in Savannah, Georgia

“CMA CGM SYMI”, a 15,000-TEU container ship, received 4,600 cubic metres of LNG bunker fuel from North America’s largest LNG articulated ATB “Clean Canaveral” during simultaneous operations.

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JAX LNG and Seaside LNG complete SIMOPS LNG bunkering op in Savannah, Georgia

Pivotal LNG on Tuesday (21 May) said JAX LNG and Seaside LNG conducted the inaugural liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering in the Port of Savannah of CMA CGM SYMI during the ship’s call at the Garden City Terminal last month. 

The CMA CGM SYMI is a 15,000-TEU container ship and received approximately 4,600 cubic metres of LNG from North America’s largest LNG articulated tug and barge (ATB), Clean Canaveral, during simultaneous operations (SIMOPS).

Roger Williams, Manager of JAX LNG and Vice President of Commercial LNG and Gas Development at BHE GT&S, the parent company of Pivotal LNG, said: “We appreciate the opportunity to work alongside CMA CGM staff in Marseille, Norfolk and Savannah in preparation for this unique bunker event that marked CMA CGM’s first LNG SIMOPS bunkering of a 15,000-TEU ship in the United States.”

The bunkering also marked Seaside LNG’s first bunkering of a dual-fuel container ship with membrane-type LNG tank technology, highlighting the efficient design of Seaside LNG’s 5,500-cubic-metre series LNG ATB. 

Tim Casey, CEO of Seaside LNG, said: “The ATB design and skillful operator, McAllister LNG Services, has proven very resourceful to bunker container ships, car carriers, cruise ships and petroleum tankers with different cargo tank technologies.”

This inaugural bunkering marked multiple collaborative milestones and continues to demonstrate the viability of LNG as a marine fuel in the U.S. 

 

Photo credit: Georgia Ports Authority
Published: 23 May 2024

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