Singapore is gearing up to refuel the growing number of ships powered by cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of dirty fuel oil.
The Republic aims to be ready to bunker LNG to ships in the next three years, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon yesterday as he watched a regional-first demonstration of LNG truck-to-ship bunkering.
The three-year schedule is in line with the 0.5 per cent limit on global sulphur emissions set to kick in from 2020, as announced by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) last October. The emissions level is about 3.5 per cent today.
"As the world's largest bunkering port, Singapore remains committed to ensuring that the maritime industry has access to cleaner marine fuels," said Dr Koh, speaking at the Pavilion Energy LNG bunkering launch at Jurong Port yesterday.
"We plan to be LNG bunker-ready as early as 2020."
Dr Koh, who is also Senior Minister of State for National Development, cited efforts to push for the use of LNG here, including the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's (MPA) programme to co-fund up to $2 million for LNG-fuelled harbour craft, which will see five such vessels come on stream starting in 2018.
The MPA will also embark on a three-year LNG bunkering pilot programme this year, which will "allow us to test operational protocols, gain operational experience and beef up Singapore's capabilities to ensure that LNG bunkering is carried out safely, efficiently and reliably", said Dr Koh.
At the event, an LNG bunkering demonstration was held with the super-chilled fuel supplied to a ship from a port for the first time in Singapore and South-east Asia.
Dr Koh said the trial was testament to Singapore's progress in conducting LNG bunkering operations.
He said: "The expansion of our LNG infrastructure and capabilities will further increase opportunities for LNG trading and bunkering, which are important elements for a regional gas hub."
The truck-to-ship LNG bunkering demonstration involved transferring LNG, typically at minus 163 deg C, from two ISO tanks alongside Jurong Port berths to an offshore vessel.
It was carried out by Pavilion Gas, one of the two licensed LNG bunker suppliers in Singapore. The other licence-holder is FueLNG.
Mr Seah Moon Ming, chief executive of Pavilion Energy, the Temasek-backed parent of Pavilion Gas, said this was done in line with TR 56, Singapore's first standard for LNG bunkering, launched just last Friday, giving the technical framework for running LNG bunkering operations such as transferring the fuel on and off ships, and refuelling at the Port of Singapore.
Mr Seah said bunkering is a key market for LNG growth, while the IMO's landmark ruling will boost demand for LNG in fuelling ships.
"The establishment of robust LNG bunkering ecosystem will add to Singapore's offerings as an Asian LNG hub. Not only can Singapore serve as a physical and financial hub for LNG trading, but also for small-scale LNG and LNG bunkering activities. Vessels will be able to call at the Port of Singapore not only for trade purposes but also for LNG bunkering refuelling."