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Alternative Fuels

Singapore reiterates commitments towards developing LNG and bio bunker fuels

Two Singapore ministers recently spoke about the bunkering industry in the republic at two conferences and reiterated Singapore’s support towards LNG and biofuels.

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Two Singapore ministers recently spoke about the bunkering industry in the republic at two separate conferences and reiterated Singapore’s support towards the development of LNG and bio bunker fuels. 

Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng said Singapore has developed a strong energy and LNG ecosystem over the years.

“We have established ourselves as a leading LNG trading and bunkering hub in Asia. We have 60 LNG traders operating in Singapore, including the world’s top 10 global energy traders,” Tan said in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Gastech 2023 Conference on Tuesday (5 September). 

“In 2022 alone, about USD 240 billion worth of LNG trades flowed through Singapore, equivalent in value to about 50% of Singapore’s GDP.”

He added Singapore has also built up its infrastructure with Singapore’s LNG terminal can handle up to 9.6 million tonnes per annum of throughput capacity. 

“Our upcoming LNG bunkering network will support the growth of LNG as a marine fuel,” he said.

Tan explained that companies in Singapore have also innovated to deploy new solutions and create new business models that support the entire LNG ecosystem.

“For example, in January this year, Seatrium delivered the first of a series of LNG hybrid tugs for use in Singapore’s waters,” the minister said. 

“The vessel is the first of its kind for operations in Singapore using a pure LNG engine and is supported by an innovative battery power system that allows for emission-free operations during idling and low-speed transit. “

“Seatrium has commissioned the design and the building of the world’s first LNG hybrid tug in 2018 and continues to build its capabilities to ride the global energy transition.”

He concluded that Singapore’s investment in the energy and LNG ecosystem has seen promising results. 

“We are committed to invest further and grow further so that Singapore can better serve the region's energy needs.”

low yen ling

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling said Singapore is well-positioned to support and grow new trade flows for renewable fuels such as biofuels.

She said one of Singapore’s key goals and focus is to grow new trade flows for renewable fuels. 

“The global energy transition and our 2050 net-zero ambition will continue to spur greater demand for greener fuels. Singapore is well poised to facilitate and grow these new flows,” she said in her speech at the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC) 2023 on 4 September. 

“For example, in the area of biofuels, Singapore is located near regional feedstock resources and home to a growing network of counterparties. Over 60 companies, including energy majors such as ExxonMobil and Respol, and ADM and Bunge in the agri-commodities sector, are taking hold of this advantage by trading biofuels from Singapore.”

“Singapore’s efficient refining and processing capabilities, as well as robust maritime infrastructure, allows us to import biofuels for refining and re-export. This synergy presents an opportunity for Singapore to develop strengths in both biofuels processing and trading, and solidify our position as an energy hub.”

Low added Singapore has made good progress in adopting renewable fuels in the aviation and shipping industries.

“In the shipping industry, the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has been taking active steps to facilitate the use of cleaner fuels such as LNG, biofuels, ammonia, hydrogen and methanol to drive decarbonisation efforts. To date, over 140,000 tonnes of biofuels blends have been supplied across more than 90 biofuels bunkering operations,” she added. 

To facilitate the transition to cleaner fuels, Low said the republic is also exploring further opportunities in biofuels, and working on harmonising standards to reduce barriers to the trade of biofuels.

“In consultation with industry and researchers, the MPA has also developed a provisional biofuel standard on the specification of marine biofuel for blends up to 50%. As there is presently no international standard for the quality of biofuels for bunkering, this provisional national standard aims to support the growth of biofuel bunkering and facilitate the adoption of greener fuels to meet our net-zero goals.”

 

Photo credit: Dr Tan See Leng / Low Yen Ling
Published: 7 September, 2023

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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.

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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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Ammonia

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.

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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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Methanol

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.

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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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