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Singapore: Industry players weigh in on debunking MFM bunkering flowrate reduction myth

Variety of shipowners and bunker suppliers, including Metcore International and Endress+Hauser, tell Manifold Times if bunkering flowrate has been an issue since introduction into the Singapore bunkering sector.

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A recent survey conducted by independent Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times has found the introduction of coriolis mass flowmeters (MFMs) to have minimally affected the bunkering flowrate of equipped bunker tankers, especially when taken into the context of shipowners’ delivery requirements.

Since 1 January 2017, the local bunkering sector has been conducting MFM bunkering operations for all marine fuel oil deliveries; the programme was extended to include distillate deliveries from 1 July 2019.

Shipowner’s perspective

Major shipowners and operators were keen to share their bunkering experiences at Singapore port with Manifold Times. From the overall survey with shipowners and bunker suppliers, it seems the ideal flowrate for receiving marine fuel was around 500 metric tonnes per hour (t/h) – a standard readily met by Singapore bunker tankers.

“We conduct between 10 to 16 bunkering operations per month at Singapore port and have not experienced any significant reduction of flow rate during bunkering,” a Singapore-based top 10 international ship management source told Manifold Times.

The Director of a dry bulk shipping firm which conducts more than 80 bunkering operations at the republic per month pointed out any delays in bunkering was likely “caused more by inflexible ex-wharf supply and short supplies and congestion [at Singapore port]”.

“The flow rate is fine because within the dry bulk sector we require max rate of up to 500 t/h due to the flange/connection etc,” he stated.

A source from amongst the world’s largest container shipping lines noticed MFMs produced “no negative impact” in delivery flowrates.

“The current MFM flowrate is acceptable for bunker delivery to be completed within the vessel port stay under normal circumstance,” he said. “While having a higher flowrate may sound attractive, the corresponding higher pressure may have safety concerns.”

Bunker supplier’s perspective

Local suppliers experienced with the technical operation of MFM-equipped bunker tankers had more to add when asked if MFMs severely reduced the delivery flowrate of their barges.

A terminal source shared MFMs, including those from manufacturer Endress+Hauser, could perform at up to 1,000 t/h. However, vessel safety would be more of a concern at such a high output.

“On average, delivery throughput of 400 – 500 t/h can be easily achieved with MFMs. In any case, it’s the receiving vessel that has restrictions and they ask us to reduce our flow rate due to the arrangement of their vessel piping system,” he explained.

“Most of the time the receiving vessel cannot take the maximum flow rate given by the bunker tanker. There is nothing to do with restrictions, if any, from MFMs.”

The Director of a bunkering firm noted the importance of getting a correctly sized MFM and pipeline configuration for the bunker tanker to ensure optimal flow.

“The installation of an MFM system onboard a bunker tanker typically introduces between half to one bar of pressure into the piping system which results in a 5-10% drop in flowrate on level ground,” he noted.

“During actual operations, variables affecting flow rates include viscosity, temperature, back pressure from head, whether receiving vessels are restricting the receiving rate, and more.

“At sea, we typically encounter freeboard of between 5 to 20 metres for receiving vessels. In general, we encounter a drop of 1 bar of pressure for every 10 metres but this doesn’t stop us from ensuring throughput of between 400 – 600 t/h for clients.

“This is especially so as a good number of bunker vessels in Singapore have dual cargo pumps rated at 1,000 m3/hr driven by main engines or electric motors which ensure the flowrate of 400 – 600 t/h is easily achievable.”

The owner of another bunker supplier, on the other hand, claimed a 5-10% decrease in flowrate after installation of an MFM onboard a bunker tanker as already a “safe estimation”.

“There is no logical reason for any big drops in flowrate after installing an MFM onboard. Even if there were any drops, this could be easy compensated by increasing pressure from the pump side.”

Other bunker suppliers approached by Manifold Times highlighted their marine fuel delivery vessels had to meet SS 648:2019 - Code of practice for bunker mass flow metering; a locally developed standard which bunker tankers pass before engaging in commercial operations.

SS 648:2019 covers the requirements of bunker quantity measurement using a coriolis MFM system including governs metering system qualification, installation, testing, procedures, and documentation for bunker custody transfer.

“Suggesting the installation of coriolis MFMs onboard to have affected the bunkering flowrate of equipped bunker tankers is not entirely accurate and without context,” noted the Director of a top Singapore bunkering firm.

“Each MFM has a QMax (i.e., the maximum flow rate) which will depend on meter selection, the bunker tanker’s piping system, amongst other variables. Meeting this requirement and more ensures proper delivery.”

Bunker deliveries conducted within the specified minimum (Qmin), maximum (Qmax), and minimum measured quantity (MMQ) flow rates under SS 648:2019 ensures best practice for marine fuel delivery operations, added management personnel of another bunker supplier.

Metcore International

Darrick Pang, Managing Director of Singapore-based MFM system measurement solutions provider Metcore International Pte Ltd (Metcore), shared further technical details with Manifold Times.

“Introduction of any extra instrument such as a MFM within the pipeline of a bunker tanker will definitely affect flowrate but this also depends on how the system has been setup and the way the MFM is installed,” he stated.

“Any pressure drop is normal, and this can be mitigated with correct sizing of the MFM and working with meter vendors to calculate the flowrate before installation.

“Though coriolis MFMs have no mechanical parts, it is typical to experience up to a 1.0 bar pressure drop in a normal cell.

“Flowrate is very very subjective and there are many possibilities affecting it.”

Other areas affecting flowrate after installation of a MFM onboard a bunker tanker include design of its pipe system, type of pumps used, height of the receiving vessel, and more, he added.

Endress+Hauser

In summary, the situation could be best explained by Mohamed Abdenbi, Business Process Consultant, of Endress+Hauser (S.E.A.) Pte. Ltd., the Singapore branch of Swiss-based MFM manufacturer Endress+Hauser.

“We have not heard of MFM systems affecting flowrate of bunker tankers. Reason is that MFMs are sized in a way to achieve optimum condition between pressure drop and accuracy. In addition to that, the availability of different MFM sizes allows us to select the best possible meter without reducing the flow rate during bunker operation.”

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 18 July, 2023

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Poland: ORLEN to strengthen position in bunker fuels sector with new oil terminal

With the terminal’s commissioning, the company plans to introduce a bunkering vessel to service the Tri-City ports with conventional marine fuels and biofuels.

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ORLEN oil terminals

Polish multinational oil refiner ORLEN Group on Wednesday (12 June) said it is solidifying its presence in the marine fuels market with the construction of a new oil terminal that is scheduled for completion by the second half of 2025.

Construction of the Martwa Wisła terminal, located on the Martwa Wisła river, has already exceeded 70%.

The Martwa Wisła terminal will enhance the logistics capabilities of the Gdańsk refinery, allowing for the transshipment of approximately 2 million tonnes of fuel products annually.

The first four loading arms have already arrived at the construction site and the remaining four loading arms are slated for delivery by the end of June. The devices, with a throughput capacity of up to 500m³/h, will be used at transshipment points to load tankers.

With the terminal's commissioning, the company plans to introduce a bunkering vessel to service the Tri-City ports (Gdańsk, Gdynia, Sopot) with conventional fuels and biofuels.

For over 20 years, the Group has been supplying quality marine fuels to all Polish seaports. Its refinery product portfolio encompasses a wide range of fuels that guarantee quality and strict compliance with regulations, including MGO (DMA 0.1%S), ULSFO (RMD80 0.1% S) and LNG, which will in the near future be complemented with ‘green’ alternatives.

All marine fuels offered by ORLEN comply with the international ISO 8217:2017 standard and meet the requirements of the MARPOL Convention.

 

Photo credit: ORLEN Group
Published: 14 June 2024

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Australia: Crew of bunker tanker “Champion 63” to strike following employer’s refusal to negotiate

‘BP has decided they can’t pay industry standards in Brisbane and want to keep their workers’ wages low,’ states MUA spokesman.

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Champion 63

The crew of Champion 63, a 2022-built Australia-registered bunker tanker with home port of Brisbane, is set to go on strike after bargaining for a new enterprise agreement has stalled, stated the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) on Wednesday (12 June).

Members of the Australian Maritime Officers Union, the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers, and MUA voted up protected industrial action on 11 June 2024.

The crews have been trying to formalise their employment conditions with ASP Ship Management since the bunkering operations commenced in February 2023. It took ASP approximately six months to issue the Notice of Employee Representational Rights (NERR) and start bargaining.

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“The crew of the new bunker barge on the Brisbane River and the maritime unions bent over backwards to make this vessel work,” said MUA Assistant Branch Secretary Paul Gallagher.

“Including low wages, excessive hours and a roster that does not allow crew to take leave. 18 months down the track when it comes time for BP to reward their crew and pay industry standards what do they do? They deny them fair wages, a workable roster and threaten their back pay!”

The AMOU filed a bargaining dispute after ASP refused to take their claim for a roster that does not demand that crews work every weekend seriously.

“Having to work every weekend because ASP does not have suitable relief arrangements is unacceptable,” said AMOU Industrial Officer Tracey Ellis.

“Crews have a right to be rostered time off to spend with their family. Waiting for ASP to fix the issue did not work, filing a Bargaining Dispute in the Fair Work Commission did not work, so the crews will take protected industrial action until their concerns are taken seriously.”

The crews onboard the Champion 63 voted up an unlimited number of stoppages of work of between one hour and 48 hours.

Gallagher added that, “the Maritime unions will not tolerate the big multinational fuel barons of this world undermining the Australian maritime wages and conditions of seven local mariners who are trying their best to support our own local shipping and Cruise Ship industry. If your cruise holiday gets delayed it is because, after recording over $40 billion profit in last two years, BP has decided they can’t pay industry standards in Brisbane and want to keep their workers’ wages low.”

 

Photo credit: Maritime Union of Australia
Published: 13 June 2024

 

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Infineum releases Sustainability Report 2023 outlining its sustainability progress

Infineum celebrates 25 years of operations and looks forward to the next 25 years of progress towards its net zero ambition by 2050, says CEO.

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Press release Infineum remains focused on our purpose to become a sustainable world class specialty chemicals company

Infineum, a specialty chemicals company headquartered in the UK, on Thursday (13 June) released its fourth annual Sustainability Report, reinforcing its purpose to create a sustainable future through innovative chemistry.

Aligned with the company’s strategic plan to achieve its vision and purpose, Infineum announces:

Publication of its Sustainability Report 2023 (Sustainability.Infineum.com), which outlines the efforts and progress that the company has achieved through the year, including:

  • Championing of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) throughout the organisation
  • Achievement of 28% of colleagues volunteering, surpassing its 2025 target of 25%
  • Increased share of relevant supplier spends covered by sustainability assessments to 62%

Launch of revamped corporate website (www.Infineum.com) to better represent Infineum as a specialty chemicals company, showcasing Infineum’s existing capabilities, as well as diversification in the new markets

The joint venture, formed in 1999 between Shell and Exxon Mobil, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and recently shared its restructure strategy to two business units, Sustainable Transportation and Energy Applications.

“As Infineum celebrates 25 years of operations and we look forward to the next 25 years of progress towards our net zero ambition by 2050, I am pleased to share our fourth annual sustainability report,” says Infineum CEO Aldo Govi.

“This is a journey and we have made excellent progress, but improvement will not always be linear, especially when set against the backdrop of a challenging external environment, but our purpose of creating a sustainable future through innovative chemistry, continues to drive us forward.

“We remain focused on our vision to become a sustainable world-class specialty chemicals company. Sustainability was at the core of reshaping Infineum to better enable us to contribute to sustainable mobility and the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

 

Photo credit: Infineum
Published: 13 June 2024

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