S'pore looking at expansion of LNG and biofuel bunkering operations in port

Singapore backs LNG as the transition fuel of choice to help it achieve its carbon emissions goals. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore plans to grow its liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering capabilities and expand the use of biofuels for ship refuelling at its port, said Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport on Wednesday.

He said that the Republic backed LNG as the transition fuel of choice to help it achieve its ambitious carbon emissions goals.

Singapore wants to achieve net-zero goals by 2050. In September, the National Climate Change Secretariat said the Republic is deciding whether to raise its 2030 climate target to support the longer-term goal.

"Growing confidence in LNG as a marine fuel is reflected by the existing order book, with approximately 30 per cent of the gross tonnage on order being LNG dual-fuelled or LNG capable," Mr Chee said at the 22nd Singapore International Bunkering Conference at the Resorts World Convention Centre.

About 1,800 delegates from 45 countries are attending the two-day conference, which ends on Thursday.

Mr Chee acknowledged that while LNG was not a zero emissions fuel, he said that there was already significant funding being channelled towards research and development to address methane emissions.

As LNG is better than the traditional bunker fuel, the approach Singapore is taking is not to "let perfect be the enemy of good", and to still explore and do research on other fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia and methanol, even though they are not quite commercially feasible at this stage, he said.

He added that LNG has the potential to achieve even greater reduction in emissions through bio-LNG or synthetic LNG, noting that SEA-LNG - a multi-sector industry coalition established to demonstrate LNG'S benefits as a viable marine fuel - and Singapore's Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre will be launching its study and findings during the conference.

Mr Chee said Singapore had completed a total of 24 ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operations in 2021 and was expected to expand with the launch of Singapore's second LNG bunkering vessel.

The Singapore-flagged vessel Brassavola is 116.5m long and 22m wide and has a capacity of 12,000 cubic metres. It is owned by Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL) subsidiary Indah Singa Maritime and will be chartered by Pavilion LNG Bunker I, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pavilion Energy.

"When launched into operation in 1Q 2023, Brassavola will be Singapore's largest LNG bunker vessel," Pavilion Energy and MOL said.

The vessel will be employed by Pavilion Energy to supply LNG bunkers in the port of Singapore, the world's top bunkering port, the companies said.

The naming ceremony for Brassavola at Sembcorp Marine Tuas Boulevard Yard on Oct 4, 2022. PHOTO: SEMBCORP MARINE

TotalEnergies Marine Fuels will also be employing Brassavola to supply LNG bunkers to its customers via a long-term agreement with Pavilion Energy.

Major shipowners, including CMA CGM and BHP Group, are already using LNG for part of their fleet to cut emissions, although the price of the fuel, primarily used for power generation, has spiked because of disruptions to Russian gas supply to Europe following the Ukraine war.

In her keynote address at the conference Ms Aw Kah Peng, Chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore, said LNG was the lowest carbon emitting fuel that was available today, and that the energy giant, which now operates in 15 LNG bunker locations across three continents with 12 LNG bunkering vessels, was committed to expanding its network and building the business even further.

Besides LNG, Mr Chee said Singapore was also pushing ahead to expand the use of biofuels in ship refuelling in the port. He said that 70,000 tonnes of biofuel had been supplied in Singapore across more than 40 biofuel bunkering operations to date.

Mr Chee said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and other agencies had developed a provisional national quality standard for marine biofuel to support the development of biofuel bunkering.

As part of a trial, he said harbour craft in operation within the Republic's port are using biofuels for bunkers.

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