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Shanghai: Adoption challenges of methanol bunker fuel take centre stage at VPS panel session

Chimbusco, GARD, Green Marine Group, the Methanol Institute, VPS, and DNV experts offer respective thoughts on shipping’s transition towards methanol as a marine fuel.

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Shanghai: Adoption challenges of methanol bunker fuel take centre stage at VPS panel session

Issues of using methanol as a marine fuel was the focal point of discussion by panellists at the recent VPS-organised Fuel Quality, New Fuels & Decarbonisation Challenges seminar held in Shanghai, China on 28 March.

Chimbusco – Working on three aspects of methanol as marine fuel

Tian Ming, General Manager, Enterprise Management & Development Division, Chimbusco shared the company has been working on three areas, include availability, bunkering ports, and standards, for the use of methanol as a bunker fuel.

“As far as we know the availability of green methanol is very limited and there will be a big gap between supply and demand. In China, we pay attention to green methanol projects but found they are too far from mass production,” said Mr Tian.

He noted methanol can only be currently supplied as a bunker fuel at less than ten ports in the world while Shanghai port will start supplying green methanol soon.

“Last year at a decarbonisation forum we launched marine fuel quality and delivery standards for methanol. With such standards we hope we can have safe fuel supply [for methanol],” noted Mr Tian.

“This year, we will be focusing on the supply of marine biofuel and green methanol, and consider the design of a more environmentally friendly refuelling barge.”

The Methanol Institute – Market imbalance for forecasted demand and supply

Zhao Kai, Chief Representative China, the Methanol Institute (MI) similarly noted a shortfall in future methanol bunker supply due to a chicken and egg situation between producers and shipowners.

“We currently have about over 260 new vessels in the orderbook and 100 ships due for retrofits to use methanol as a bunker fuel which will generate more than 20 million mt in market demand,” explained Mr Zhao.

He noted MI has not been able to track much development in renewable methanol supply agreements between producers and shipowners.

“The renewable methanol supply side wants prices to be higher, but shipowners want to wait for lower prices. MI is doing a lot of work in the background to help both supply and demand sides establish a working relationship.”

Green Marine Group – Safety an important factor amidst maritime energy transition

Donnie Bagang, Managing Director of Green Marine Group and the first Chief Engineer in the world to run a methanol-fuelled tanker, emphasised the ongoing transition in the shipping industry towards cleaner fuels. He highlighted the significance of crew training and risks associated with new fuels in this changing landscape.

Bagang also gave a practical example that a simple leakage of the same rate/quantity in similar operating conditions could introduce either a minor incident for methanol fuel or life-threatening situation in the case of ammonia fuel.

Recognising the industry is now moving in the right direction formulating regulatory requirements for the new fuels, he emphasised: “We do not need to reinvent the wheel completely. Instead, we should look into our present framework, identify training gaps, and bridge those gaps.”

“All these new fuels have been transported as cargo for a very long time and having them marine fuel does not make them a different chemical.”

VPS – No need to ‘reinvent the wheel’ to use methanol as bunker fuel safely

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS shared the firm undertook the very first methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) in Singapore for Maersk’s first methanol-powered container ship, the Laura Maersk.

“There were lots of precautions taken like fire training, proper sample bottles etc and the process shows there is no problem with using methanol as a bunker fuel while ensuring proper Q&Q controls are in place. The IMPCA standards for the methanol cargo industry are already in place,” said Captain Choudhuri.

“Methanol has been carried as a cargo on product tankers for many years. There is no need to reinvent the wheel and we can learn from experience gained from the cargo trading industry. VPS is ready to help shipowners manage the safe use of methanol as a marine fuel.”

Proper management of traditional fossil-based bunker fuel and its alternative variants such as biofuel will continue to be an important topic for the future, he added.

GARD – New marine fuels introduce different risk profile for vessels

Yang Yang, Senior Lawyer, Defence/Charterers & Traders Claims Asia, GARD spoke about the risks insurers take in order to support shipping’s decarbonisation journey.

“As one of the world's largest marine insurers, based on data from the tens of thousands of claim we handled each year, the risk profile between different type of vessels are very different,” said Mr Yang.

“We can make forecasts based on historical data. In terms of transition risks, we have a unique advantage due to the wealth of data that emanates from our claims portfolio. This claims data gives us a view of the risks when it comes to the industry’s performance in management of change such that the impact of change is measurable. It is likely to bring in an uptick in claims frequency, and change often comes with a price tag. For a vessel with a new fuel, insurers do not have much claims experience or data to base our assessment on. As such, insurance companies should engage all stakeholders to increase risk awareness. One thing remains important and that is proper crew training to mitigate risk. As claims start being notified, we start building our own experience and then we are able to map out risk profiles based on the fuel used for propulsion.”

DNV – Safety still important on the road towards decarbonisation

James Huang, Senior Vice President, DNV who was also moderator for the event stressed the shipping sector should not neglect safety while on the road towards decarbonisation.

“Shipping is a traditional industry and the maritime sector transports about 90% of the world’s goods. The shipping sector is transforming due to decarbonisation but traditional issues such as safety still exist,” said Mr Huang.

He noted DNV identifying three safety related risks for the shipping sector.

“The first is increased number of accidents. Based on 2022 statistics, 50% of accidents are based on machine failures much like the recent case of a containership hitting a bridge at Baltimore. The second is cybersecurity, and third is new risks posed by consumption of new marine fuels,” stated Mr Huang.

“We need to look at the whole value chain to identify and cope with risks as shipping moves to adopt new types of bunker fuels on a larger scale.”

Related: China introduces country’s first marine methanol bunkering standards 
Related: China: Chimbusco releases methanol bunkering code of practice draft to industry
Related: VPS shares its experience with methanol as a bunker fuel
Related: Baltimore bridge collapse: FuelTrust highlights bunkering activities of Singapore-registered “Dali”

 

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 9 April 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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Methanol

Consortium inks MoU for facility in Egypt to produce green methanol bunker fuel

AD Ports Group, Transmar and Orascom Construction will develop a green methanol storage and export facility, which will provide bunkering solutions for mainliners who have ordered green methanol powered vessels.

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Consortium inks MoU for facility in Egypt to produce green methanol bunker fuel

AD Ports Group, a facilitator of global trade, logistics and industry on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with container shipping line and terminal operator Transmar and global engineering and construction contractor Orascom Construction for the development of a green methanol storage and export facility. 

AD Ports Group said the facility will aim to supply low-carbon fuel for maritime transport, presenting an opportunity to establish clean alternative energy storage solutions globally.

Green methanol is a synthetic fuel produced renewably and without polluting emissions, and can be produced from green hydrogen. This chemical compound can be used as a low-carbon liquid fuel and is a promising alternative to fossil fuels in areas where decarbonisation is a major challenge.  

Aside from the maritime industry, green methanol can help decarbonise other hard-to-abate industries, including chemical and plastics. 

“The addition of a facility in this area will provide bunkering solutions for those mainliners who have ordered green methanol powered vessels and is aligned with AD Ports Group’s overall decarbonisation strategy and expansion into clean energy liquid bulk storage,” the Group added.

Captain Ammar Mubarak Al Shaiba, CEO – Maritime & Shipping Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: "By signing this MoU with Orascom Construction who have vast international experience in bulk liquid terminals for Methanol storage, and Transmar, who have decades of expertise in this region and within terminal operations, AD Ports Group and its subsidiaries are taking a significant step towards the sustainable future of energy.”

“This initiative not only aligns with the UAE's decarbonisation goals but also accelerates the energy transition in shipping, positioning us at the forefront of the green hydrogen revolution and enabling us to contribute to global environmental stewardship and economic diversification."

 

Photo credit: AD Ports Group
Published: 29 May 2024

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