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SIBCON 2022 Interview: Digitalisation in bunkering ops, can lower costs and enable decarbonisation, says StormGeo

Digitalisation makes it easier for shipowners to conform to growing external regulations such as new sulphur regulations and ‘no scrubber’ zones; operators can identify better bunkering options to reduce costs.

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The following interview with Christian Plum, Head of Bunker Product, StormGeo, is part of coverage for the upcoming Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) 2022, where Manifold Times is an official media partner. Christian Plum was the CEO of BunkerMetric, which was recently acquired by Alfa Laval to be merged with StormGeo. 

Plum breaks down how digitalisation improves bunkering operations, transparency in the bunkering sector and its role in helping shipowners meet IMO 2030/2050 emissions targets:

MT: Do you think the bunkering sector is adequately digitalised? What are the lacking areas/aspects which you would like to see an improvement in?

In the last five years or so, we’ve seen much good development in all aspects of digital support for bunkering, including data quality, planning, delivery, MFMs, and follow-up. However, only a few early adopters have leveraged these innovative techniques and are now reaping their benefits. What lies ahead is partly a refinement of these techniques, but I expect to see a more general adoption of them in the coming five years. 

In addition to existing tools, techniques, and ideas already on the market, I believe we also will see new ideas emerge and increased integration of related services to create more holistic offerings. 

MT: How can digitalisation improve bunkering operations? What are the commercial and operational benefits of operating a fully digitalised bunkering fleet?

There are several opportunities inherent in digitalising bunkering operations.

First, digitalisation makes it easier to conform to external regulations. In the last five years, we’ve seen new sulphur regulations, ‘no scrubber’ zones, and required MFMs in certain jurisdictions – regulations that aim to reduce environmental footprints and add transparency to the bunkering industry. Most likely, the external regulatory pressure will increase significantly in the coming five years, mainly due to a need to monitor and reduce GHG emissions but also to increase transparency. More complex rules require better systems to ensure compliance and to plan and manage the increased risk. Digital tools will play a critical role in allowing the shipping and bunkering industry to manage this increased complexity, keep costs down, and ensure transparency between shippers, insurers, and governments. 

Second, operators can achieve time and cost savings by leveraging digital tools. With good digital tools, operators can identify better bunkering options in this increasingly complex environment, which may help reduce operational costs. Furthermore, operators can save time by leveraging advanced analytics to plan their bunkering operations in minutes instead of hours – time saved for more value-adding work. 

MT: Could you elaborate more on how digitalisation improves transparency in bunkering operations?

Digital tools can ensure transparency regarding documenting decisions. For example, why did a specific vessel bunker 500 MT of VLSFO at Gibraltar? Having a detailed decision basis in the form of complete calculations of hundreds of alternatives helps justify decisions like this. Furthermore, these calculations can also ensure that, for example, trainee operators or last-minute schedule changes are handled with full detail within minutes, providing a consistently high-quality decision process.  

MT: What are the current digitalisation trends for the general maritime sector and how can technology help shipowners meet IMO 2030/2050 emissions targets?

In addition to the opportunities highlighted above, digitalisation, especially in the form of sensor technology, big data, and advanced analytics, can help shipping companies gain deeper insights into their operations and identify better strategies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 

MT: Heading into IMO 2030/2050, what is the biggest digitalisation-related challenge faced by the shipping industry and are there any solutions for this?

To add on my points above, an increasingly complex regulatory landscape requires better systems to ensure compliance and to plan and manage increased risks. This means that the shipping industry needs to start today and take advantage of the emerging digital tools that can help manage this increased complexity.

Related: Alfa Laval finalises acquisition of BunkerMetric for StormGeo merger
Related: Alfa Laval to acquire BunkerMetric for merger with StormGeo to expand digital marine services

Other interviews conducted by Manifold Times for coverage of SIBCON 2022 are as follows:

Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Co-Convenors offer insights into Singapore’s upcoming Digital Bunker Document Standard
Related: Singapore: ISO/TC 28/SC 2/WG13 for Marine Bunkering attends meter verification operation of “Sea Longevity”
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: MFMs relevant for custody transfer of future liquid-based marine fuels, confirms Endress+Hauser
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: Singapore Bunkering TC Chairman shares republic’s direction on future marine fuels
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: Clyde & Co discusses handling of bunker fuel quality disputes, alt fuels contracts

 

Photo credit: StormGeo
Published: 4 October, 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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