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Singapore is Ready for Commercial Methanol Bunkering Operations

methanol bunkering
Methanol bunkering in Singapore while the X-Press Feeder vessel was also handling containers (X-Press Feeders)

Published May 27, 2024 5:58 PM by The Maritime Executive

Singapore reports that it has completed its preparation and is now ready to offer full-scale commercial operations for the bunkering of methanol as a marine fuel. It joins other ports such as Antwerp and Rotterdam that are now locations for methanol bunkering and it can provide a model for the future adoption of ammonia as a marine fuel.

Two large methanol bunkering operations were completed in Singapore at the end of last week and again today, May 27, establishing the patterns and testing the processes developed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and government agencies. The port highlights that it began planning for the first methanol bunkering in July 2023 for the Laura Maersk containership including safety training and establishing an Emergency Operations Center. They also did plume modeling and reported they are now completing the technical reference for methanol bunkering.

Today’s bunkering of the ECO Maestro for X-Press Feeders also provided the opportunity to trial the use of the mass flow metering system for methanol and Singapore’s use of digital bunkering. Singapore has been the world’s largest bunker port for traditional fuels and is anxious to maintain its lead by developing alternative fuel options.

The new X-Press Feeders vessel was recently delivered in China as the first of 14 methanol dual-fuel vessels for the company. The ship, which is 13,900 dwt and 660 feet (201 meters) in length has a capacity for approximately 1,200 TEU. It stopped in Singapore before sailing for Cape Town as it heads to Rotterdam which along with Antwerp will be the homeports for X-Press Feeders’ new Northern Europe green routes. The vessel, which was the first of its kind built in China, uses a MAN 5S50 ME dual-fuel engine.

The bunker also marked the first time Singapore has been the location for methanol bunkering simultaneously with container operations. Close to 300 metric tonnes of bio-methanol were loaded from the bunker vessel Kara in a four-hour operation while the vessel was on dock at the Tuas terminal. According to port officials, after completing this operation the port is now ready for commercial methanol bunkering operations.

 

Proman's product tanker bunkered a methanol mix lass week in Singapore's anchorage after her naming ceremony (MPA)

 

Last week, on May 24, the port also saw the bunkering of 1,340 metric tons of a blended methanol mix of 20 percent green/80 percent conventional methanol for the Stena Prosperous (49,000 dwt) product tanker just delivered to Proman. It was a seven-hour operation also undertaken by the Kara in a ship-to-ship operation in the anchorage. Proman highlights the blend will result in a 31 percent tank-to-wake reduction in CO2 emissions.

The Laura Maersk loaded 300 metric tonnes of bio-methanol last summer in the first operation for Singapore conducted while the ship was in a secure part of the anchorage. After that, the port authority issued a tender for which it received 50 submissions from over 60 regional and international companies.

Singapore was also the location for the first two ammonia bunkering operations. Both were undertaken as part of the trials and certification of Fortescue’s pioneering vessel, a converted offshore supply ship that is the first to use ammonia.