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SIBCON 2022: Stakeholders discuss the future of Singapore’s bunkering landscape at session finale

MPA, Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services, and BP share their thoughts with Singapore Shipping Association in the final session of SIBCON 2022.




06 Oct Sibcon Day 03 640

Several stakeholders in Singapore’s bunkering industry provided insights on Singapore’s marine fuels landscape in the near future during a deep dive finale session at the 22nd edition of Singapore International Bunkering Conference, also known as SIBCON 2022, on Thursday (6 October).

Caroline Yang, Chief Executive of Hong Lam Marine and President of Singapore Shipping Association, who was moderating the session What’s Next in Singapore’s Marine Fuels Landscape, asked panellists their prediction on the main fuel types that will fuel ships and the types of carbon abatement measures they will see in 2030.

She also asked the panel about their thoughts if Singapore will remain the top bunkering port in a multi-fuel environment, what they foresee would be the expected fuel mix of 2030, expected investments that Singapore needs to have to maintain its top position, uptake rate of biofuel at the republic, and more.

Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation

Dr. Sanjay Kuttan, Chief Technology Officer, Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, who was one of the panellists, said there would be no major shifts in the fuel mix in 2030 if Singapore continues to remain as one of the largest transhipment ports in the world and the current rate of alternative fuels production remains unchanged.

“What you will begin to see is the emergence of LNG as a maritime fuel because there are 700 new LNG ships on order today. But that's still a drop in the ocean of the 80,000 vessels that are on water,” he said.

“We will also the increased use of drop-in biofuels, specifically Gen 2 and possibly even Gen 3 biofuels will emerge by 2030. Even though you will see more biofuels entering the market, VLSFO still will be the dominant base fuel in 2030.”

He shared with the audience the Neste refinery in Singapore produces a significant amount of hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), a good biofuel that can be mixed with marine gas oil (MGO), which presents an unique opportunity for Singapore to supply a 2nd generation biofuel at scale.

“Singapore could establish vertical algae farms for the production of 3rd Generation biofuels. So, I think if we push our imagination harder and if we want to become a biofuel hub for the shipping industry, we have the elements to actually realise that but only if it becomes a part of our national strategy.”

Dr Kuttan also pointed out that carbon abatement measures like ship board carbon capture systems can be powerful tools – but only if the industry is able to introduce a responsible solution to dispose the captured CO2 effectively.

“Ultimately, no matter how much CO2 you capture, you need to fix it and not release it into the air, so there's still a few more building blocks to be established,” he notes.

“But I think we need to recognise that we need to use every solution in our “bag-of-tricks” to try and “bend-the-curve” as soon as possible because the technology is available, however, we must ensure that the overall lifecycle analysis of any solution needs to have a positive impact on Mother Nature.”


Anthony Tolani, General Manager - Australia and New Zealand, Trading and Shipping - bp Marine, agreed with Dr Kuttan's sentiments on biofuels and added stakeholders are enthusiastic in joining in decarbonisation efforts – though not necessarily led by regulations at this point of time.

“What we've seen is a voluntary adoption of biofuel, particularly where there are no incentives available and I think that will continue to build,” he said.

He added regulators can also play a role as there are still some restrictions at the moment constraining the “free adoption of biofuels”.

“So what we're seeing is an industry pushing for regulations to keep pace. Starting January 2030, we may see the emergence of methanol; however, predominantly it will be a larger uptake of biofuels, and LNG as well as VLSFO,” he said.

He also said it would be possible for biofuel bunker sales in Singapore to reach five million tonnes before 2030.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

Capt. Daknash Ganasen, Senior Director of Operations & Marine Services, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, echoed other panellists of SIBCON 2022 in suggesting there will be no clear winner at the moment in the anticipated fuel mix in the near term,  but there are  opportunities for every type of alternative bunker fuel.Capt Daknash said that shipping companies   could also be looking into new renewable technology on board ships such as wind energy and solar energy to supplement or complement emission reduction in tandem.

He also gave his take if Singapore will remain the top bunkering port in a multi-fuel environment when it comes to marine fuel volume.

“We do, of course, definitely aspire to be the top bunkering port in the world as we move into a transition from fossil fuel to the next alternative fuel and renewable energy,” he said.

He noted MPA has partnered with various initiatives including being a member of the Castor Initiative and SABRE consortium, in itself is a testament that we aspire to be amongst the top bunkering ports in the world moving ahead as well,” he said

Capt Daknash also shared other initiative such as  co-founding the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation to look into the various aspects of the challenges that the industry face moving towards  2030 and 2050, and  initiatives with like-minded ports under the Future Fuel Port Network, which was formed with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan where parties collaborate, share information, and work on best practices together.

Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services

Choong Sheen Mao, Director, Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services (Equatorial), said there needs to be more strategic collaboration, not just within Singapore but also internationally.

“Equatorial sees Singapore as still being the leading bunkering hub in the world, especially with the focus on a multi-fuel future. Furthermore, the republic is not just a hub for bunkering, but a hub for many other aspects, such as financing, trading and digitalisation,” stated Mr Choong.

“The future is going to be much more complicated, requiring the Port to tackle difficult issues such as operational safety during ammonia bunkering.

“Nonetheless, good foundations have already been built over the years; for example the mandatory use of mass flow metering system paves the way to accurately measure the quantity of bunkers delivered, which may allow other things, such as accurate tracking of potential carbon emissions from the delivered products.

“Singapore has a strong and diverse ecosystem for us to adapt, collaborate and deal with future challenges. There has never been a more exciting time for the bunkering industry.”

He emphasised the company’s commitment to biofuels, adding: “Equatorial has already obtained our ISCC certification. There will be a gradual scaling up process in the adoption of alternate fuels, especially due to high prices.”

“Biofuel, because it is a drop-in fuel, it will be much more straightforward. Regulations will nonetheless have to kick in to incentivise shipowners to use such fuels. Short to medium term subsidies will help with the uptake of biofuel but, at the end of the day, the economics of consuming biofuel have to be sustainable in the long run.”

Mr Choong, meanwhile, noted decarbonisation developments within the shipping industry taking a rapid pace.

“Even within the past 18 months, the vocabulary of discussing about decarbonisation has matured rapidly. It is now quite established that the world will adopt the well-to-wake method in assessing carbon emissions. The industry has become much more refined and accurate in our references,” he explained.

“Before we discussed about the potential of ammonia [as an alternate marine fuel]. Now we speak about consuming green or blue ammonia. The transition to alternate fuels will be very interesting.

“How do we ensure that the price of transitional fuel or green fuel is competitive with conventional fuel? Could one solution be carbon taxes with a floating price mechanism against conventional fuels, with the involvement of price publishing agencies? This may assist us in the transition.

“Nevertheless, going green is going to be a very expensive exercise. Therefore, we need to be very selective in making sure we take the right steps. We cannot afford to take too many wrong steps. It will be too costly, especially to a single organisation.”

Manifold Times is an official media partner of SIBCON 2022; a series of articles related to the event written by the Singapore bunkering publication are as follows:

RelatedSingapore: MPA develops framework to support biofuel bunker fuel deliveries
RelatedSIBCON 2022: SGTraDex enters MOU with six bunkering sector tech providers
RelatedSIBCON 2022: S&P Global Market Intelligence and Bunkerchain in MoU
RelatedSIBCON 2022: Singapore sets out to drive transformation in bunkering
Related: SIBCON 2022: Development of ISO 8217:2024 in progress; but ‘ineffective’ without industry adoption, foresees VPS
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: ExxonMobil to invest more than USD $15bn on GHG reduction initiatives by 2027
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: Eaglestar discusses challenges and possible solutions in embracing ammonia as a bunker fuel
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: Digitalisation in bunkering ops, can lower costs and enable decarbonisation, says StormGeo
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: Co-Convenors offer insights into Singapore’s upcoming Digital Bunker Document Standard
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: MFMs relevant for custody transfer of future liquid-based marine fuels, confirms Endress+Hauser
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: Clyde & Co discusses handling of bunker fuel quality disputes, alt fuels contracts
RelatedSIBCON 2022 Interview: Singapore Bunkering TC Chairman shares republic’s direction on future marine fuel


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 14 October, 2022

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Alternative Fuels

IUMI: How can liability and compensation regimes adapt to alternative bunker fuels and cargoes?

Existing international liability and compensation regimes do not fully cater to the changes that the use of alternative marine fuels will bring.





Dangerous cargo

By Tim Howse, Member of the IUMI Legal & Liability Committee and Vice President, Head of Industry Liaison, Gard (UK) Limited

The world economy is transitioning, with industries across the board seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and embrace more sustainable practices. As part of this, there is a huge effort within our industry to look to decarbonise, using alternative fuels such as biofuel, LNG, LPG, ammonia, methanol, and hydrogen.

Until now there has been much focus on carbon emissions and operational risks associated with the use of alternative fuels. This includes increased explosivity, flammability, and corrosivity. An ammonia leak causing an explosion in port could result in personal injuries, not to mention property damage, air, and sea pollution. In addition, alternative fuels may not be compatible with existing onboard systems, increasing the risk of breakdowns and fuel loss resulting in pollution. Apart from these safety concerns, which particularly concern crew, air pollution and other environmental impacts need to be addressed.

However, the green transition also presents us with a separate regulatory challenge, which has received less attention so far. So, whilst carbon emissions and safety concerns are rightly on top of the agenda now, the industry also needs to prioritise the potential barriers in the legal and regulatory frameworks which will come sharply into focus if there is an accident.

If anything, historic maritime disasters like the Torrey Canyon spill in 1967, have taught us that we should look at liability and compensation regimes early and with a degree of realism to ensure society is not caught off-guard. With our combined experience, this is perhaps where the insurance industry can really contribute to the transition.

Currently, existing international liability and compensation regimes do not fully cater to the changes that the use of alternative fuels will bring. For example, an ammonia fuel spill would not fall under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunkers Convention), potentially resulting in a non-uniform approach to jurisdiction and liability. Similarly, an ammonia cargo incident would not fall under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC). Uncertainties may also exist in the carriage of CO2 as part of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects, which may be treated as a pollutant, with corresponding penalties or fines.

A multitude of questions will arise depending on what happens, where it happens, and the values involved, many of which may end up as barriers for would be claimants. How will such claims be regulated, will there be scope for limitation of liability, and would there be a right of direct action against the insurers? In the absence of a uniform international liability, compensation and limitation framework, shipowners, managers, charterers, individual crew, and the insurers may be at the mercy of local actions. Increased concerns about seafarer criminalisation (even where international conventions exist, ‘wrongful’ criminalisation does still occur) may emerge, creating another disincentive to go to sea.

When being carried as a cargo, the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS), which is not yet in force, may resolve some of these issues for alternative fuels and CO2. However, until HNS comes into force, there will be no international uniformity to liability and compensation for the carriage of alternative fuels and CO2 as cargoes. This creates uncertainties for potential victims and their insurers, who may face increased risks and costs, due to the potential inability of existing regulations to provide protections.

The situation is even less clear in the case of bunkers. The rules for using alternative fuels as bunkers might require a separate protocol to HNS, a protocol to the Bunkers Convention, or a whole new convention specifically for alternative fuels.  Relevant considerations for the appropriate legislative vehicle include states’ preparedness to reopen the Bunkers Convention, the ability to conclude a protocol to HNS before it comes into force, and whether a multi-tier fund structure is needed for alternative fuels as bunkers (perhaps unnecessary because bunkers are usually carried in smaller quantities compared to cargoes).

Until then, what we are left with are the existing international protective funds, designed to respond at the highest levels to pollution claims resulting from an oil spill, without any similar mechanism in place to respond to a spill of alternative fuels, which are themselves so central to a green transition. Somewhat perversely, victims of accidents involving an oil spill may therefore enjoy better protections than victims of an alternative fuels spill.

In summary, while the use of alternative fuels will no doubt help to reduce the industry's carbon footprint, there are safety and practical hurdles to overcome. Stakeholders must also come together to find solutions to complex - and urgent, in relative terms - legal and regulatory challenges.


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Source:  International Union of Marine Insurance
Published: 13 June 2024

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Expert discusses technical considerations of using ammonia as marine fuel

Ammonia as bunker fuel poses significant safety challenges due to its toxicity and flammability, says Senior Marine Surveyor Muammer Akturk.





Technical considerations of ammonia as marine fuel

Muammer Akturk, a Senior Marine Surveyor specialising in alternative bunker fuels, on Monday (10 June) published an article on technical considerations of using ammonia as a marine fuel in his Alternative Marine Fuels Newsletter.

The article dives into the use of ammonia as a marine fuel, focusing on the safety and technical considerations necessary for its implementation.

Ammonia is recognised for its potential as a zero-carbon fuel, making it an attractive option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry. However, it poses significant safety challenges due to its toxicity and flammability.

Key points discussed include:

  1. Safety Measures: The importance of stringent design and operational safety measures to prevent ammonia releases and mitigate risks during both normal and emergency conditions is emphasized. This includes the need for gas dispersion analyses and the use of safety systems like gas detectors and alarms
  2. Regulatory Framework: The article reviews the latest regulations and guidelines developed to ensure the safe use of ammonia as a marine fuel. This includes the IACS Unified Requirement H1, which provides a framework for controlling ammonia releases on vessels
  3. Engineering Considerations: Technical aspects such as fuel storage, handling systems, and the role of risk assessments in identifying potential hazards and implementing preventive measures are detailed
  4. Human Factors: The article also considers the human factors approach to safety, emphasizing training and the importance of designing systems that account for human errorOverall, the article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges and solutions associated with using ammonia as a marine fuel, highlighting the importance of safety and regulatory compliance in its adoption.

Editor’s note: The full article can be found at the link here.


Published: 13 June 2024

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Green Marine Fuels Trading, Vopak team up on green methanol port storage facilities

Green Marine Fuels revealed a strategic collaboration with Vopak to secure necessary port storage to accommodate green methanol supply in Shanghai, Tianjin and later in Singapore.





Green Marine Fuels Trading, Vopak team up on green methanol port storage facilities

Green Marine Fuels Trading on Tuesday (11 June) announced a strategic collaboration with Royal Vopak Terminals in the key ports of Shanghai Caojing and Tianjin Lingang, China. 

The firm said the milestone agreement marked the next phase of methanol supply chain infrastructure expansion for Green Marine Fuels Trading, securing necessary port storage capacity to accommodate projected supply of green methanol from Chinese business partners.  

Green Marine will be undertaking a similar cooperation plan with Vopak Singapore as well. 

Gavin McGrath, Director at Green Marine, said: “This is an important milestone in the evolution of Green Marine Fuels Trading and further underscores our preparedness to supply green methanol to the imminent green transition within the shipping industry.” 

“Our leadership in the global methanol marine fuel sector uniquely positions us to bridge the gap between methanol producers and buyers, with storage and supply infrastructure being a crucial link in the chain.”

“We eagerly anticipate leveraging our expertise in these domains to enrich the Shanghai and Tianjin green port and marine fuel ecosystems.”

Manifold Times previously reported Vopak signing a strategic cooperation agreement with the Vice Mayor of Tianjin delegation to support the repurposing of Vopak Tianjin's infrastructure for new energies, including green methanol, sustainable aviation fuel, and potentially ammonia and liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC).

Vopak said Tianjin Port Group will work closely with Vopak to develop a green methanol bunkering service solution.

Related: Tianjin Port Group and Vopak partner to develop green methanol bunkering service


Photo credit: Green Marine Group
Published: 12 June 2024

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