The following interview arranged by Conference Connection is part of pre-event coverage for the upcoming 12th International Fujairah Bunkering & Fuel Oil Forum (FUJCON 2021), where Manifold Times is an official media partner. Readers can register for the virtual event by clicking on the link here.
Bunkering volumes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at Singapore port is set to grow by up to 90 times in 2021 compared to last year, says the General Manager of licensed LNG bunker supplier FueLNG, a locally formed joint venture between Keppel Offshore & Marine and Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd.
“In 2020, most of the regular LNG bunkering in Singapore have been carried out by truck-to-ship, although the number of operations is in 100’s the actual bunkered volume is rather limited,” Saunak Rai tells Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times.
“With the commencement of ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in Singapore from 2021, we are expecting about an 80 to 90 times increase in annual LNG bunkering volumes at Singapore port.”
According to Rai, major factors contributing to the growth will be due to the availability of FueLNG Bellina – Singapore’s first dedicated LNG bunker vessel (LBV) – back by the republic’s status as a major container port, wherein LNG bunkering can be carried out within the time for cargo operations, resulting in time efficiency.
The development will be further supported by the earlier release of updated TR56 recommendations for LNG bunkering in Singapore, which provides certainty of regulations and detailed guidance for successful LNG Bunkering operations, together with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) initiatives incentivizing Singapore Ship Owners investing in reducing cO2 emissions and reduction in port dues to LNG-fuelled vessels calling at Singapore.
“The outlook for Singapore’s LNG bunkering sector appears very bright. A number of LNG-fuelled container vessels and tankers have already confirmed their term bunkering plans from Singapore and we are also seeing spot interests from bulk carriers and car carriers,” he adds.
“FueLNG has been an early mover, and ordered a LBV speculatively in 2016 even though the LNG bunker demand pipeline was not well formulated in Singapore. This decision gave us an immediate advantage now, having a LBV operational in Singapore.”
To date, FueLNG has carried out over 300 truck-to-ship LNG bunkering operations in Singapore, notes Rai.
“We have continuously learned and improved from these operations, making each new operation more efficient than the previous one,” he says.
“We have also shared our feedback with various government authorities and provided them with recommendations to increase efficiency of the logistics chain. A number of these have been accepted and implemented.”
Rai believes Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub for traditional marine fuels, is on the right track to also become the world’s largest LNG bunkering port.
“Singapore has unique advantages of geographical location, efficient marine ecosystem, diverse infrastructure and robust regulations. This has a played a big role in it becoming the world’s largest bunkering hub [traditional marine fuels],” he explains.
“To continue the growth and reach the level of world’s largest LNG bunkering hub, Singapore needs to look into further infrastructure investment for LNG loading facilities, and also focus on further reducing logistics costs.”
Moving forward, Rai notes Fujairah and U.A.E. already having many attributes needed to succeed as a LNG bunkering hub; such as access to cheap LNG from regional LNG producers in UAE and Qatar, a geographical location near major shipping traffic, an efficient Marine ecosystem, and the Dubai Supply Authority (DUSUP) FSRU which can be utilised as a loading facility for LNG Bunker vessels.
“Now, what is needed is a mechanism to incentivise the early adopters, both on the supply as well as the demand side,” he observes.
“In addition, clear guidance on rules and regulations regulating LNG bunkering in Fujairah needs to established in consultation with local industries and LNG Bunkering experts.”
Note: Saunak Rai will be speaking at Session 6: Post 2020 Future Fuels Landscape: Outlook for LNG, Hydrogen, Methanol & Biofuels at FUJCON 2021.
Photo credit: FueLNG
Published: 11 March, 2021
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