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SIBCON 2022 Interview: Singapore Bunkering TC Chairman shares republic’s direction on future marine fuels

Current ISO 8217 bunker fuel standard not comprehensive enough for biofuels; National Mirror Committee working with local players to develop more comprehensive biofuels standard for Singapore, says Capt. Rahul.

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The following interview with Capt. Rahul Choudhuri, Chairman of Singapore Technical Committee for Bunkering, is part of coverage for the upcoming Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) 2022, where Manifold Times is an official media partner.  

Capt. Rahul discusses the following: 

  • The committee’s strategy in preparing the local marine fuels industry for IMO 2030
  • How future bunker fuels could affect bunker surveyors 
  • Singapore’s latest bunker fuel contamination incidents and 
  • Development plans for a local biofuel bunker standard

MT: How is the Singapore Technical Committee for Bunkering and its related government entities preparing the local marine fuels industry for IMO 2030?

The Singapore Technical Committee falls under the purview of the Singapore Standards Council and is managed by the Singapore Development Organisation at SCIC. The intention is to develop national standards that continue to raise industry awareness, productivity and of course fulfil our regulator’s requirements. 

The successful implementation of the SS:648 (Code of practice for bunker mass flow metering) is a good case in point where it has not only supported the local industry in modernising and building a competitive advantage for Singapore as a bunkering hub, but also help elevate global standards through the formation of an international standard ISO 22192 (Bunkering of marine fuel using mass flow meter) which took place last year.

In terms of getting ready for sustainable fuel development, the National Mirror Committee has been working hard in getting an interim biofuel standard ready. The work in developing a code of practice for ammonia and methanol bunkering has already started but this will take time.

MT: Future marine fuels could include material which are poisonous when exposed [ammonia] or super chilled [LNG]; how will this affect traditional bunker surveyor operations, such as drip sampling and tank gauging? Do you think bunker surveyors will still be needed in the future?

I think we are seeing early days still in terms of use of such new fuels. Their present use in mainstream shipping is fairly limited. The Global Centre of Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) has embarked on an extensive study on the safety criteria for ammonia bunkering which will include sampling & quality parameters. We should wait for these findings.

The bunker surveyor’s role needs to adapt to these changes and this can mean a greater level of knowledge building. However, the primary role of the surveyor to ‘trust but verify’ still remains a fundamental that will not be changed.

MT: Do you think marine fuel quality off-spec issues, this time involving alternative bunkers such as biofuels, methanol, LNG, ammonia and hydrogen, will still take place in the future? Why?

Alternative fuels such as biofuels have different quality characteristics that will need careful consideration and effective fuel management. For example, the FAME content of biofuels will define their energy value so knowing what this is accurately will be critical. Another criteria will be the evaluation of storage considerations for such biofuels as they may degrade, in which case knowing more about their stability characteristics will be important. 

MT: Is the current ISO 8217 bunker fuel standard comprehensive enough for biofuels, which is seen by many shipowners as the easiest way to meet IMO 2030 targets? Any areas which you will like to see improvement?

No, I don’t think so. This may be because many other areas are under review in the ISO 8217 and so sufficient attention has not been given to the use and management of biofuels. It is for this reason that the National Mirror Committee (under the Technical Committee for Bunkering) has taken the task to develop a more comprehensive standard for biofuels in Singapore.

MT: What lessons have Singapore taken from the bunker contamination incidents earlier this year? What measures have the government introduced to make sure such an event never happens again at the world’s biggest bunkering port? 

Apart from all the extensive work done by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the industry will be aware a new Expert Group has been set up together with the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) to look more closely at this contamination incident and what further control measures can be set. We should not underestimate the seriousness of the intention here.

At the Standards level, the SS:524 (Specification for quality management for bunker supply chain) has been revised with the intention to put greater leadership commitment and risk management in the supply chain. 

A list of other interviews conducted by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times on occasion of SIBCON 2022 are as follows:

Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Digitalisation in bunkering ops, can lower costs and enable decarbonisation, says StormGeo
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Co-Convenors offer insights into Singapore’s upcoming Digital Bunker Document Standard
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: MFMs relevant for custody transfer of future liquid-based marine fuels, confirms Endress+Hauser
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Clyde & Co discusses handling of bunker fuel quality disputes, alt fuels contracts
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Singapore Bunkering TC Chairman shares republic’s direction on future marine fuels

 

Photo credit: Singapore Technical Committee for Bunkering
Published: 28 September, 2022

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LNG Bunkering

Singapore: Pavilion Energy supplies LNG to TFG Marine dual-fuel bunker tanker

“MT Diligence” was refuelled with 34 cubic metres of LNG bunker fuel, supplied by Pavilion Energy, marking the first LNG bunkering of TFG Marine’s bunker vessel.

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Singapore: Pavilion Energy supplies LNG to TFG Marine bunker tanker

Global marine fuel supply and procurement firm TFG Marine on Monday (20 May) announced the completion of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) refuelling of its dual-fuel bunker tanker MT Diligence this week in Jurong Port, Singapore.

The 34 cubic metres (m3) of LNG to power the MT Diligence was supplied by the Marine division of Singapore-headquartered Pavilion Energy. 

“Deploying a vessel that can be powered by LNG as well as conventional low sulphur marine fuels helps TFG Marine to meet its licence requirement with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA),” TFG Marine said in a social media post.

Singapore: Pavilion Energy supplies LNG to TFG Marine dual-fuel bunker tanker

“Built and operated for TFG Marine by CBS Ventures Pte Ltd, the 5,000 dwt MT Diligence has been designed to our technical specifications, including stringent safety considerations and has joined our supply fleet this year in the major bunkering centre of Singapore.”

Manifold Times previously reported TFG Marine christening the first LNG dual-fuel bunker tanker to join its fleet.  

The newbuild vessel, MT Diligence, has joined the company's low sulphur fuel oil and biofuel supply operations in the major bunkering centre of Singapore.

Related: LNG dual-fuel bunker tanker “MT Diligence” joins TFG Marine fleet for Singapore ops

 

Photo credit: TFG Marine
Published: 21 May 2024

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Methanol

Argus Media: Low-carbon methanol costly EU bunker fuel option

Despite GHG emissions savings that low-carbon methanol provides, it cannot currently compete on price with grey methanol or conventional marine fuels.

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Ship owners are ordering new vessels equipped with methanol-burning capabilities, largely in response to tightening carbon emissions regulations in Europe. But despite the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings that low-carbon methanol provides, it cannot currently compete on price with grey methanol or conventional marine fuels.

17 May 2024

Ship owners operate 33 methanol-fueled vessels today and have another 29 on order through the end of the year, according to vessel classification society DNV. All 62 vessels are oil and chemical tankers.

DNV expects a total of 281 methanol-fueled vessels by 2028, of which 165 will be container ships, 19 bulk carrier and 14 car carrier vessels. Argus Consulting expects an even bigger build-out, with more than 300 methanol-fueled vessels by 2028.

A methanol configured dual-fuel vessel has the option to burn conventional marine fuel or any type of methanol: grey or low-carbon.

Grey methanol is made from natural gas or coal. Low-carbon methanol includes biomethanol, made of sustainable biomass, and e-methanol, produced by combining green hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide.

The fuel-switching capabilities of the dual-fuel vessels provide ship owners with a natural price hedge. When methanol prices are lower than conventional bunkers the ship owner can burn methanol, and vice versa.

Methanol, with its zero-sulphur emissions, is advantageous in emission control areas (ECAs), such as the US and Canadian territorial waters. In ECAs, the marine fuel sulphur content is capped at 0.1pc, and ship owners can burn methanol instead of 0.1pc sulphur maximum marine gasoil (MGO). In the US Gulf coast, the grey methanol discount to MGO was $23/t MGO-equivalent average in the first half of May. The grey methanol discount averaged $162/t MGOe for all of 2023.

Starting this year, ship owners travelling within, in and out of European territorial waters are required to pay for 40pc of their CO2 emissions through the EU emissions trading system. Next year, ship owners will be required to pay for 70pc of their CO2 emissions. Separately, ship owners will have to reduce their vessels' lifecycle GHG intensities, starting in 2025 with a 2pc reduction and gradually increasing to 80pc by 2050, from a 2020 baseline.

The penalty for exceeding the GHG emission intensity is set by the EU at €2,400/t ($2,596/t) of very low-sulplhur fuel oil equivalent. Even though these regulations apply to EU territorial waters, they affect ship owners travelling between the US and Europe.

Despite the lack of sulphur emissions, grey methanol generates CO2. With CO2 marine fuel shipping regulations tightening, ship owners have turned their sights to low-carbon methanol.

But US Gulf coast low-carbon methanol was priced at $2,317/t MGOe in the first half of May, nearly triple the outright price of MGO at $785/t. Factoring in the cost of 70pc of CO2 emissions and the GHG intensity penalty, the US Gulf coast MGO would rise to about $857/t. At this MGO level, the US Gulf coast low-carbon methanol would be 2.7 times the price of MGO. By comparison, grey methanol with added CO2 emissions cost would be around $962/t, or 1.1 times the price of MGO.

To mitigate the high low-carbon methanol costs, some ship owners have been eyeing long-term agreements with suppliers to lock in product availabilities and cheaper prices available on the spot market.

Danish container ship owner Maersk has led the way, entering in low-carbon methanol production agreements in the US with Proman, Orsted, Carbon Sink, and SunGas Renewables. These are slated to come on line in 2025-27. Global upcoming low-carbon methanol projects are expected to produce 16mn t by 2027, according to industry trade association the Methanol Institute, up from two years ago when the institute was tracking projects with total capacity of 8mn t by 2027.

By Stefka Wechsler

 

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 21 May 2024

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Bunker Fuel

Bunker Holding, 123Carbon and BV launch carbon insetting solution

Bunker Holding has concluded its first blockchain-powered carbon insetting operation in a new partnership with 123Carbon and Bureau Veritas.

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Bunker Holding:Bunker tanker vessel supplying marine fuel to a cargo ship at anchorage

Marine fuel supplier Bunker Holding on Thursday (16 May) said it has concluded its first blockchain-powered carbon insetting operation in a new partnership with carbon insetting experts 123Carbon and Bureau Veritas.

This insetting partnership allows for the additional cost delivery of lower carbon, alternative marine fuels – such as sustainable biofuel – to be shared by carriers, freight forwarders, and cargo owners within the same value chain; allocated based on a globally accepted book and claim methodology.

“We’re excited to work with 123Carbon and Bureau Veritas, as we believe in complete transparency of how insets are created and transferred. Insetting is not new, but one concern within the maritime sector is under what circumstances alternative fuels are supplied, and who owns the emissions reductions,” said Tobias Troye, Head of Carbon Solutions at Bunker Holding.

By combining its alternative fuel supply expertise, its global access to low-carbon fuels and extensive carrier network with 123Carbon’s secure platform, Bunker Holding said it can offer carriers, freight forwarders, and cargo owners complete transparency and assurance regarding how their insets reduce maritime emissions.

“We are delighted that Bunker Holding not only uses our advanced platform for the issuance of the certificates, but has also chosen a fully branded solution to deliver the certificates in a secure environment to its customers,” said Jeroen van Heiningen, Managing Director of 123Carbon.

Working with 123Carbon’s blockchain-based insetting platform, and Bureau Veritas as third-party assurance partner to verify the fuel intervention and all related documentation, ensures that all insets are issued according to Smart Freight Centre’s Book & Claim methodology and 123Carbon’s assurance protocol.

To facilitate the intervention, Bunker Holding connected three different parties: the cargo owner, who wishes to reduce their scope 3 emissions and is willing to pay the “green premium”, the ship operator, to decarbonise its vessels through the use of biofuels, and the biofuel supplier, to deliver safe, high-quality low-carbon fuels. Due to the commitment from the cargo owner to purchase scope 3 insets, Bunker Holding was able to offer the biofuel at a more competitive cost to the ship operator, enabling the carrier to use biofuels instead of conventional fossil fuels.

“As a group, we are operationalising our decarbonisation strategy, and one key component has been to develop our alternative marine fuel supply capabilities, among others by securing fully certified biofuel availability in more than 100 ports around the world. The relative higher cost of alternative fuels may still prevent carriers to bunker it. However, carbon insetting helps bridge that gap, as it enables cost sharing and also sends an important demand signal to alternative fuel producers to scale up production,” said Valerie Ahrens, Senior Director of New Fuels and Carbon Markets at Bunker Holding.

 

Photo credit: Bunker Holding
Published: 21 May 2024

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