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SMW 2023: Methanol-based spill scenario organised for ICOPCE table-top exercise

Exercise scenario involved, for the first time, methanol spill at sea to prepare for methanol bunkering in Port of Singapore later this year; modelling study of plume clouds from released methanol was shown.





The 13th biennial International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference and Exhibition (ICOPCE) was held on Wednesday (26 April) at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week. 

Organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the event was opened by Capt M. Segar, Assistant Chief Executive (Operations), MPA. 

Themed ‘Spill Strategies in a Decarbonisation Era’, the conference provided a platform for industry professionals to discuss spill strategies for alternative marine fuels, including best practices, safety challenges and crisis management. ICOPCE brought together more than 150 professionals from various government agencies, port operators, as well as industry players from the bunkering, petrochemicals, shipping, protection and indemnity, and emergency response sectors. 

Key speakers include Mr Christophe Logette, Director, Cedre, Mr Rob Boudestijn, Managing Director, Vopak Terminals Singapore, and Capt Clint Bout, General Manager and Head of Marine, Hafnia.

Methanol-based Spill Scenario for the ICOPCE Table-Top Exercise

A table-top exercise (TTX) was organised as part of the ICOPCE programme to provide an opportunity for participants to review existing safety measures and standards, identify potential gaps and new safeguards, clarify roles and responsibilities, and strengthen cross-agency coordination for an effective response to a chemical spill incident. This year’s TTX scenario involved, for the first time, methanol spill at sea to prepare for methanol bunkering in the Port of Singapore later this year. A modelling study of plume clouds that could form when methanol is suddenly released into the atmosphere during an incident or emergency was presented by MPA’s Port Chemist for participants’ awareness.

Participants also learnt about the specific hazards of methanol where a methanol flame is difficult to detect by sight, possible safety measures that could be adopted when handling the fuel, effective measures to detect and put out a methanol fire onboard a vessel, and the training of seafarers, operators, and engineers to reduce the risks of methanol handling.

Panos Koutsourakis, Vice President, Global Sustainability from ABS, said, “ABS is committed to supporting the safe adoption of methanol by the industry and today’s event is an important aspect of that. This year’s ICOPCE TTX provided participants with insights into the behaviour of methanol in a maritime operating environment and helped build confidence of how the maritime industry can safely manage its risks and hazards while achieving net-zero emissions. By working together to examine challenges and explore solutions, we can keep our industry in the forefront of the energy transition.


Development of Safety Standards for New Fuels

A key pillar of Singapore’s multi-fuel future development is the safe handling of alternative new marine fuels. MPA, together with various research agencies and the industry, are developing the necessary safety standards and procedures to ensure safe and efficient bunkering operations of new fuels, including methanol and ammonia.

The ongoing key safety studies and plans related to Methanol include: 

  • Working Group on standard development for Methanol Bunkering – Appointed by Enterprise Singapore as the Standards Development Organisation, the Singapore Chemical Industry Council has formed a Working Group, in consultation with MPA, to develop a Technical Reference (TR) for methanol bunkering for Singapore. The TR will cover custody transfer requirements for delivery of methanol from the bunker tanker to receiving vessels, operational and safety requirements for methanol bunkering as well as crew training and competency. Discussions on the TR has commenced within the Working Group in April 2023 and it is expected to be ready in 2024.
  • Hazard Identification (HAZID) and Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) workshop – MPA will organise a HAZID and HAZOP workshop in May 2023 with methanol bunkering trial partners, working group members and relevant government agencies to develop prevention, control and mitigation methods, as well as safety and operational readiness standards required during the bunkering operation.
  • Full Deployment Exercise (FDX) – MPA will hold a FDX involving government agencies and the stakeholders in Q3 2023 to validate the effectiveness of the emergency preparedness, procedures, and responses for methanol bunkering.

Infrastructure for Methanol Bunkering

Since 2022, Singapore has completed more than 70 methanol loading and discharging operations for industrial use, measuring a total of more than 400,000 tonnes. These operations were conducted across 10 storage tanks at Jurong Island of varying capacities at Vopak Terminals, Stolthaven Terminal, Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS) Terminal, and Chevron Oronite Terminal. These tanks can also be used to store methanol for bunkering requirements. 

Maersk Methanol Bunkering Operation Pilot in Port of Singapore 

First announced during the Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) in 2022, Singapore’s first methanol bunkering pilot will be conducted with Maersk Oil Trading, Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Mitsui & Co. Energy Trading Singapore Pte. Ltd, and American Bureau of Shipping in Q3 2023. The pilot will be coordinated by MPA, who will work closely with the stakeholders, research community and national entities to ensure that the bunkering operation is carried out safely and securely. 

The lessons gleaned from this bunkering operation will inform the development of processes and procedures for other maritime fuels under consideration such as ammonia and hydrogen. 

As the port authority, MPA said it will continue to work closely with the industry and the research community to facilitate all trials and pilots of new marine fuels in the Port of Singapore and in conjunction with MPA’s green and digital shipping corridor partners.


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 27 April, 2023

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Marine Fuels 360: Methanol presents easiest path towards maritime decarbonisation, says DNV

Captain Singh was confident the bunkering infrastructure in Singapore will be ready to welcome methanol-fuelled vessels due to the coordinated efforts between various agencies.





Capt Satinder

The use of methanol as a bunker fuel presents the least path of resistance towards maritime decarbonisation, believes the Principal Consultant, Head, Research and Development, Maritime Advisory, SE Asia, Pacific, and India at classification society DNV.

Captain Satinder Singh Virdi was speaking amongst panellists in the Methanol Panel session at Marine Fuels 360 on Tuesday (28 November) when he offered an opinion about reasons behind the increasing awareness of methanol as a marine fuel.

“The ease of adopting methanol is perhaps one of the reasons. The product exists as a liquid at ambient temperature and has been carried on vessels for the last 80 years, so it is not something new,” he stated.

“What is new is we're going to use methanol as a bunker fuel. Ease of adoption, ESG compliance, as well as getting closer to decarbonisation goals are the drivers for shipowners adopting methanol.”

According to Captain Singh, the trend for methanol-fuelled newbuildings have continued in October where DNV’s Alternative Fuels Insight (AFI) platform recorded 230 vessels on order where 156 comprises of containerships.

“The trend started when Maersk increased their newbuild order of methanol-fuelled vessels; before that it was mostly LNG as an alternate fuel,” he said.

Captain Singh was confident the bunkering infrastructure in Singapore will be ready to welcome methanol-fuelled vessels due to the coordinated efforts between the Singapore Shipping Association, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, and other organisations.

“We are all working together to support Singapore’s future maritime operations. Singapore is an international maritime centre, and we want to establish ourselves as the leading maritime city,” he explained.

“I would call this a cohesive action by all relevant partners, such as shipowners, charterers, classification societies, ship managers, bunker testing firms, mass flow meter manufacturers, bunkering companies, and more.

“It is important for Singapore to be seen as a fair supporter of bunkering in terms of reliability and reputation, and if things go wrong actions are taken very strictly to ensure transparency and quality. So, in that way I am satisfied to say that ‘yes’ we have what it takes to make methanol bunkering happen.”

Related: DNV: Methanol-fuelled order trend continues, with first ammonia DF newbuilding contracts recorded in Oct
Related: Maersk invests USD 700.3 million for additional four methanol-fuelled container newbuilds

Other related: Singapore: Equatorial Marine Fuel builds four “new generation” methanol-ready bunker tankers
Other related: MPA: Due diligence carried out prior to recent Singapore methanol bunkering pilot
Other related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Other related: The Methanol Institute: Singapore takes first-mover advantage in Asia with methanol bunkering pilot
Other related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Other related: Singapore gets ready for its first methanol bunkering this week after one year preparation
Other related: The Methanol Institute: Singapore takes first-mover advantage in Asia with methanol bunkering pilot

Photo credit: Informa
Published: 6 November 2023

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Höegh Autoliners, Sumitomo to collaborate on ammonia bunker fuel supply for PCTCs in Singapore, Jacksonville

Duo will embark on a comprehensive evaluation of the compatibility between Höegh Autoliners PCTC newbuilds and ammonia bunkering facilities at the identified bunker ports.





Höegh Autoliners, Sumitomo to collaborate on ammonia bunker fuel supply for PCTCs in Singapore, Jacksonville

Norway-based pure Car and Truck Carriers (PCTCs) vessel owner and operator Höegh Autoliners on Tuesday (5 December) said it has agreed with Sumitomo Corporation to look into the supply of clean ammonia as a bunker fuel at the ports of Singapore and Jacksonville, USA from 2027 onwards.

The two companies have formalised their commitment through a Letter of Intent to collaborate on the supply and delivery of clean ammonia as a next-generation sustainable maritime fuel for Höegh Autoliners’ upcoming Aurora Class PCTC vessels. 

The twelve vessels are set to become the largest and most eco-friendly car carriers ever built and they will have the capability to run on zero-carbon ammonia or carbon neutral methanol. 

“The Letter of Intent symbolises a remarkable step in the realisation and development of the production and consumption of clean maritime fuels. The collaboration hopes to stimulate the upscaling of the supply and demand of clean ammonia for maritime usage,” Höegh Autoliners said in a statement. 

Both companies view clean ammonia as a promising future fuel for the maritime industry, offering substantial potential in addressing the challenges associated with greenhouse gas emissions in global shipping. 

To support this vision, both entities have launched a range of initiatives throughout the ammonia value chain, with a primary focus on making clean ammonia a viable choice for maritime fuel and thereby achieving significant reductions in emissions from the global shipping sector.

Moving forward, the companies will embark on a comprehensive evaluation of the compatibility between the PCTC vessels and the ammonia bunkering facilities at the identified bunker ports. 

They endeavour to make necessary adjustments to specifications for both “shore-to-ship” and “ship-to-ship” bunkering operations and undertake safety assessments to establish standardised operational protocols and regulations in close coordination with pertinent government agencies.

Photo credit: Höegh Autoliners
Published: 6 December, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

CENIT and Hinicio to explore feasibility of zero-carbon bunkers in Colombia

Mission is to explore the feasibility of producing, storing, supplying, and exporting zero-carbon bunker fuels at strategic port locations in Colombia, says centre.





Luis Desiro on Unsplash

The Centre for Innovation in Transport (CENIT) on Tuesday (5 December) said it was teaming up with Hinicio, a strategy consulting firm focused on sustainable energy and mobility, for a project funded by The World Bank in Colombia.

CENIT said their mission was to explore the feasibility of producing, storing, supplying, and exporting zero-carbon bunker fuels at strategic port locations in Colombia.

“The shipping industry is poised to become a major demand centre for zero-carbon fuels, particularly green hydrogen-based options like green ammonia and green methanol,” CENIT said in a social media post. 

“And it will play a pivotal role in transporting these zero-carbon fuels from emerging production hubs in Latin America to high-demand centres in Europe and East Asia.”

“This project takes us a step closer to decarbonising ports and fostering a sustainable future for maritime transportation.”

Photo credit: Luis Desiro on Unsplash
Published: 6 December, 2023

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