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Methanol Institute: ‘Plausible’ business opportunity, lower barriers to entry for methanol bunkering first movers

Discussions around the need to develop methanol bunkering operations are taking place at numerous ports ahead of estimated demand of above 7M mtpa by 2030, says Chris Chatterton of Methanol Institute.

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Credible business opportunities are available for ‘first movers’ of methanol bunkering due to expected deliveries of methanol-fuelled vessels from 2024, states the Chief Operating Officer at Methanol Institute.

Front view of methanol bunkering pump room with vapour recovery tank Stena Germanica
Front view of methanol bunkering pump room with vapour recovery tank - Stena Germanica

‘With a number of methanol dual-fuel vessels expected to come into service within the next 12 to 16 months, we are expecting physical bunkering opportunities of up to an estimated one million metric tonnes of methanol per annum,” Chris Chatterton told bunkering publication Manifold Times.

“However, currently, approved commercial facilities for methanol bunkering are limited at any of the major ports for any of these newbuilds to refuel.”

According to Chatterton, the lack of methanol bunkering capacity was partly due to methanol dual-fuel vessel owners not having announced where they would choose to safely bunker methanol and what specification of methanol (conventional, lower carbon, or carbon neutral).

The group is still deciding on where to source the material, how to ensure its efficient transportation into the declared port as a bunker fuel, and at a price which supports the business case for switching fuels – allowing them to remain competitive while reducing emissions.

Conventional methanol as a product, based on natural gas, which significantly reduces PM, SOx and NOx, in addition to lowering CO2 by up to 15%, is meanwhile widely available at over 100 international ports due to its legacy as a petrochemical feedstock.

“Sheer availability of methanol is extremely high. Unfortunately, ‘formally approved’ physical delivery mechanisms of methanol as a bunker fuel, with the exception of Rotterdam and Gothenburg ports, is presently very limited, but expected to change very soon,” he explained.

For example, the Stena Germannica which has been bunkered shore-to-ship since about 2015 without incident very recently began STS bunkering under operations by Methanex, the Port of Gothenburg and tanker operator E&S.

Many methanol, dual-fuel product carriers, such as those of Waterfront Shipping, have been involved with ship-to-ship transfers of methanol as a fuel for some time – since 2016; bunkering methanol in Ulsan, New Plymouth, Geismar, Trinidad, Punta Arenas, Houston, Rotterdam, Onsan and Taicang, to name a few. Proman has also begun bunkering their dual-fuel product carriers in a similar fashion.

“The expected demand is already there, based on the number of dual-fuel methanol vessels on order, so it’s really a situation of bunkering agents and vessel operators coming together to collaborate on how to secure and store methanol bunkers with an appropriate specification and safely transfer them,” he stated.

“The opportunity is out there.”

Methanol Institute, which serves as the trade association for the global methanol industry, estimates low barriers of entry for a bunkering firm to start methanol marine refuelling operations, compared to other alternative fuels.

Rear view of methanol bunkering pump room complete with low flash point fit for purpose vapour and flame detection technology as well as circuit breakers Stena Germanica
Rear view of methanol bunkering pump room complete with low flash point, “fit for purpose” vapour and flame detection technology as well as circuit breakers - Stena Germanica

“Estimates to convert an 8,000 to 10,000 dwt bunkering vessel for methanol bunkering have been pegged at less than EUR 100,000 (USD 108,000),” highlighted Chatterton.

“It’s not as much of a financial commitment to get involved, at least in comparison to other, alternative fuels. Safe handling of methanol is well understood, as a liquid at ambient temperature, with formal training programs readily available.

“Most existing bunkering firms can compete in this market with some training, best practice transfer and minimal investment. After which, coordinating with the local port authority to allow for safe methanol bunkering and then following locally approved guidelines to ensure incident-free bunkering services is critical.”

RelatedMethanol Institute: ‘Turning point’ for methanol as bunker fuel reached with A.P. Moller – Maersk leading change
RelatedMAN ES: Methanol expected to take up to 30% of dual fuel engine orders in a few years
RelatedWorld-unique methanol bunkering operation carried out in the Port of Gothenburg
RelatedSNIC 2022: Kenoil shares green methanol bunkering endeavour and firm’s contribution to supply value chain
RelatedMaersk makes first green methanol investment of 2023 in tech start-up C1
RelatedMaersk and Jordan government sign MoU to explore green methanol production
RelatedMaersk and Spanish government to explore opportunities for large-scale green fuels production

Photo credit: Gothenburg Port Authority
Published: 1 February, 2023

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Business

MAN Energy Solutions opens largest service hub in Singapore

New facility able to meet demand for repairs, maintenance and training services for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines, such as two-stroke methanol dual-fuel engines.

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Singapore on Friday (1 March) welcomed the opening of MAN Energy Solutions’ new mixed purpose facility today that will expand their local business activities.

MAN Energy Solutions is one of the global engine makers of alternative-fuel engines, and is driving the maritime energy transition by enabling the use of cleaner fuels in ships around the world.

Located in Tuas, MAN Energy Solutions' EUR 20 mil (SGD30 mil) investment will include a new MAN PrimeServ training academy for customers and employees, a logistics centre to serve as the warehouse for Asia, and a PrimeServ workshop to provide maintenance and repair services, including for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines.

The new facility will serve as the largest service hub for MAN Energy Solutions’ activities and engagements outside of Europe, and will allow shipowners and ship managers to gain round-the-clock access to technical services for MAN Energy Solutions products such as repairs and maintenance of their alternative-fuel two-stroke engines, reduce turnaround times for ships due to quicker access to spare parts, and providing training for seafarers on the safe operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of all MAN Energy Solutions equipment.

The new facility would also be timely to cater to the demand for repairs, maintenance and training services for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines, such as the two-stroke methanol dual-fuel engines that are already available and for the two-stroke ammonia dual-fuel engines that are currently in development.

The mixed-purpose facility was launched by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

SMS Khor said: “MAN Energy Solutions has been a long-time partner for Maritime Singapore since its establishment here in 1977. I am heartened that MAN Energy Solutions has placed a strong vote of confidence in Singapore by setting up its second hub outside of Europe here, setting the stage for collaboration in maritime decarbonisation, digitalisation, and talent development.”

“The expansion of MAN Energy Solutions’ workshop and warehouse activities will provide much needed capacity to support the maintenance of ocean-going vessels that adopt engines fuelled by new marine fuels.”

“MAN Energy Solutions' expanded training academy will also support Singapore's drive to upskill and reskill of our workforce, to build confidence for maritime workers to safely handle new marine fuels. I look forward to many more years of meaningful collaboration, especially in these emerging areas.”

Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO MAN Energy Solutions, said, “With over 9,000 square metres of floor space, Singapore is our largest hub outside of Europe in what is one of the most important maritime centres globally. We intend for this mixed-purpose facility to advance the maritime energy transition locally through education, logistics, and a comprehensive after-sales portfolio. Ultimately, we are ‘moving big things to zero’ and leading our customers towards a multi-fuel, decarbonised future.”

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive Officer of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said, “As the world’s largest bunkering port and major transhipment hub, Singapore is committed to the maritime digitalisation and the green transition. We have been long-time partners with MAN Energy Solutions and have been working closely together in various methanol and ammonia shipping consortiums and also in skills development.”

“MAN Energy Solutions’ new maintenance and training facility here will add deep expertise and experience to the growing and vibrant new fuels ecosystem here and also upskilling of our maritime workforce, especially in the area of new methanol and ammonia engines.”

Nicolas Brabeck, Managing Director, MAN Energy Solutions, Singapore, said: “This new facility represents one of the biggest investments that we have made outside of our product centres within recent years. It forms a key part of our company’s Triple 10+ business strategy that aims for growth through green technologies. In this context, we intend to equip our personnel with the right skillsets to handle the new technologies coming online and drive our business forward. We therefore expect to significantly increase staff numbers on-site to some 400 people by 2027, and look forward to cultivating great relationships with our customers and the various, Singaporean authorities.”

MAN Energy Solutions’ Singapore office is its largest service hub outside Europe, and currently employs 250 staff.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 4 March 2024

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Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union launches upgraded Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre

Centre includes new dual-fuel engine simulators, offering realistic training scenarios to prepare seafarers for the evolving maritime landscape and the shift to cleaner bunker fuels.

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Wavelink MPA

Singapore Maritime Officers'​ Union launched the newly upgraded Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre (WMSC), according to Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Thursday (29 February).

The SGD 2.75 million facility includes new dual-fuel engine simulators, offering realistic training scenarios to prepare seafarers for the evolving maritime landscape and the shift to cleaner fuels, in line with industry sustainability goals.

The WMSC was unveiled by Minister Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment at SMOU’s seminar titled Advancing Maritime Resilience: No One is Left Behind.

The seminar, focusing on transition and training, aimed to reinforce shared responsibility, empower the maritime workforce through training, and champion sustainability without disadvantaging stakeholders in achieving #netzero emissions by 2050.

MPA's Assistant Chief Executive (Corporate & Strategy) Hoe Soon Tan participated in a panel discussion on "Prioritising a 'Just Transition", addressing strategies to bridge skill gaps and ensure a smooth and equitable transition for all seafarers.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 4 March 2024

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Newbuilding

Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.

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Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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