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HANSA 01-2019

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Schifffahrt | Shipping

Schifffahrt | Shipping The Sebarok gasoil terminals in Singapore Ample LSFO supply in Singapore by 2020 World’s largest bunkering port in Asia acts to comply with IMO’s upcoming 2020 sulphur cap, reports Patrick Lee As the clock ticks towards the International Maritime Organisation’s 0.5% sulphur cap in 2020, Singapore is stepping up efforts to ensure sufficient availability of low-sulphur fuel oil. As the world’s largest bunkering port by sales volume, Singapore is taking the lead to make ample LSFO available, having already initiated efforts to launch liquefied natural gas-based marine fuels. During a recent bunkering conference, the city-state’s senior minister of state for transport and health, Lam Pin Min, announced initiatives being executed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). By mid-2019, MPA will list licensed bunker suppliers of low-sulphur fuels on its website. Several physical bunker suppliers have already indicated they are prepared to supply LSFO, which will have sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%. These include ExxonMobil, Shell and BP. MPA will also continue to support LNG bunkering and other alternative marine fuels. Its then chief executive Andrew Tan – he left his post in a regular leadership renewal – said: »In light of the IMO’s global sulphur limit from 1 January 2020, Singapore is committed to ensure a sufficient and broad range of solutions available to shipowners. As the world’s leading bunkering hub, MPA will continue working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that Singapore is well positioned for 2020 and beyond.« ExxonMobil’s vice president for Asia Pacific fuels business Matt Bergeron said that the US oil major will make LSFO in Singapore, Hong Kong and Laem Chabang in Thailand, which he described as three key Asian bunkering centres. ExxonMobil will also make LSFO available in some European ports, including Antwerp, Rotterdam, Genoa and Marseilles. Bergeron said information on other locations, including North America, will be made available before the end of this year. The oil major has pledged to work with the shipping industry to advise its customers on compliance with the sulphur cap. In September 2018, ExxonMobil announced it will hold a series of global symposiums called »Journey to 2020« at key maritime locations to help companies make informed fuel choices in advance of the sulphur cap. »There is no single route to compliance« ExxonMobil executive Matt Bergeron © ExxonMobil The first of these took place in Singapore on 26 October 2018, followed by events in Hong Kong, Taipei, Athens, Tokyo, Copenhagen and Hamburg. »While ExxonMobil anticipates that the vast majority of the industry will initially choose low sulphur fuels, there is no single route to compliance,« the company stated. ExxonMobil’s offerings to meet 2020 compliance will include low sulphur distillates, such as marine gas oil (MGO) new low sulphur fuels, premium Emission Control Area (ECA) fuels, the con- 50 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 156. Jahrgang – 2019 – Nr. 1

Schifffahrt | Shipping © Vopak Singapore imposes ban on open-loop scrubbers A decision by the Singapore Port Authority should deter shipping: The island state wants to ban the use of so-called open-loop scrubbers in the port area. The pros and cons of scrubbers are currently being hotly debated, opponents and supporters are fighting each other with arguments as to whether flue gas scrubbers are the right answer to the IMO’s new sulphur requirements. Now Singapore is literally pouring oil into the smouldering fire. The Southeast Asian island state wants to ban open-loop scrubbers from its port area. These are open systems that discharge the wastewater (sludge) back into the sea after the purification process with seawater. Ships equipped with these systems would have to use low-sulphur fuel instead. But this more than challenges the investment in the plants. Scrubbers cost between 2 and mill. $, depending on ship type and size. Shipowners who invest in such plants could continue to use heavy fuel oil (HFO, 3.5% sulphur content) after 1 January 2020 instead of the new fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%. The price difference should be at least 250 $ per tonne. If Singapore were to implement its plan, this advantage would be lost in one of the most important ports and bunker sites for global shipping. The discharge of the washing water would then be prohibited. Ships equipped with hybrid scrubbers would have to switch to the closed cycle and use all other IMO-compliant fuels. The regulation has already been adopted and will enter into force on 1 January 2020, Andrew Tan, CO of the port authority MPA, is quoted by Reuters. tinued use of high sulphur fuel oil (HFO) in conjunction with a scrubber and LNG. To meet the demands for 0.5% sulphur compliant fuels and marine gas oil, ExxonMobil has undertaken a 1bn. $ upgrade of its Antwerp plant, and is reviewing a major upgrade in its Singapore and UK refineries. ExxonMobil’s Singapore refinery is the company’s largest, processing 592,000 barrels a day. The company said: »We have already made significant investments at a number of other refineries around the world in order to increase our production capacity of cleaner fuels with lower sulphur content.« ExxonMobil’s 2020 compliant 0.5% sulphur fuels range from RMD80 to RMG380 with a density of between 900 and 970 at 15 degrees Celsius, and catalytic fine content meeting ISO 8217:2017 parameters. Shell, on its part, has completed initial trials for its very-low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), which has sulphur content of 0.5%. Ship operators who wish to test Shell’s product may purchase the fuel in Rotterdam, Singapore and New Orleans. Shell’s global sales and marketing manager for marine fuels, Melissa Williams, said: »We’re giving customers an opportunity to test the new fuel to become more familiar with how the fuel performs in their vessels. We will work with end users during the trials to assist them in handling VLSFO.« The Anglo-Dutch oil major said that VLSFO will be available in Singapore by 2020. Part of Belt and Road initiative Chinese oil refining group Sinopec, which has a joint venture with BP in Singapore, will also start supplying compliant LSFO from August 2019. Sinopec Fuel Oil Company’s general manager Liu Zurong said: »Sinopec plans to sell LSFO in Singapore and some countries that are part of the Belt and Road initiative.« Although the IMO’s regulations do not take effect until 1 January 2020, China has gone one step ahead by implementing emission control areas in the Yangtze River Delta from 1 October 2018. ECAs in the Pearl River Delta and Bohai Rim will be implemented on 1 January 2019. The measures gave Sinopec the impetus to start producing LSFO and the refiner has installed desulfurization units in some of its coastal refineries. Seoul-based petroleum refining firm SK Innovation, the parent company of SK Trading International, is planning to complete construction of a 1 tr. KRW (896.8 mill. $) Vacuum Residue Desulfurisation (VRD) Unit in Ulsan by July 2020 to produce low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO). The VRD unit, the largest capacity among refiners in South Korea, will be able to produce 38,000 barrels of low sulphur fuel per day. Through its trading subsidiary, SK Trading International, SK Innovation expects to sell more LSFO material in Singapore to compensate for reduced margins of LSFO production at Ulsan. SK Trading International has been blending 0.1% sulphur LSFO product at Singapore since 2015, using an oil tanker, there, they said. SK Trading International is targeting to sell 100,000 t of LSFO at Singapore this year, an 85% increase from sales volume of 54,000 t in 2017. The company forecasts the Singapore LSFO market to grow 30% to 190,000 t in 2018, from 140,000 t in 2017. n HANSA International Maritime Journal – 156. Jahrgang – 2019 – Nr. 1 51

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