Singapore has launched its first standard for liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering operations.
The move marks yet another step towards making the country an LNG bunker-ready port, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Spring Singapore and the Standards Development Organisation @ Singapore Chemical Industry Council in a joint statement yesterday.
The standard, known as Technical Reference 56 (TR 56), provides the technical framework for conducting LNG bunkering operations such as transferring the fuel onto or off ships, or refuelling at the Port of Singapore. There were no comprehensive standard guidelines for LNG bunkering procedures here prior to this.
"This standard provides a safe, efficient, sustainable and transparent technical framework... thereby offering greater assurance to local and international LNG bunker buyers and suppliers," said the statement.
The MPA's LNG bunkering pilot programme, which started early this year, will utilise TR 56 to guide the implementation of operational protocols by licensed LNG bunkering suppliers.
This will help the industry gain operational experience in LNG bunkering, the statement added.
Captain M. Segar, assistant chief executive (operations) at the MPA, said: "While it may take time for LNG to take off as a marine fuel globally, we have taken steps to kick-start LNG bunkering in Singapore through our LNG bunkering pilot programme, one of them being the development of TR 56.
"The document will ensure Pavilion Gas and FueLNG, MPA's two appointed LNG bunker supplier licensees, conduct LNG bunkering operations of high quality with regard to safety as well as quantity and quality assurance."
The launch of the TR 56 comes as the global shipping industry prepares to meet more stringent regulations, such as the International Maritime Organisation's decision to cap the sulphur content of marine fuel at 0.5 per cent from 2020, compared with today's 3.5 per cent limit.
Singapore, the world's top bunkering port, has been taking steps to grow into a leading LNG bunkering and gas trading hub.
Mr Marc Howson, senior managing editor for LNG at S&P Global Platts, told The Straits Times that Singapore's strategic location, existing LNG and bunkering infrastructure as well as proactive policies encouraging LNG bunkering, position it well to benefit from any rise in LNG bunkering in Asia.