Vitol Introduces Dedicated Biofuel Bunker Barge in Singapore to Meet Demand

bunker barge Singapore
Marine Future is the first bunker barge able to deliver 100 percent bio-component fuels (Vitol)

Published Feb 22, 2024 7:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

Asia’s market for biofuels is expanding rapidly and to take advantage of the emerging opportunities, Vitol, one of Singapore’s leading fuel suppliers has taken delivery of its first specialized bunker vessel. The company looks to take advantage of the emerging opportunity and last fall reported the first vessel would be the first of several specialized bunker barges placed into service.

“Though at a nascent stage, demand for biofuel is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, as the shipping industry looks at ways to decarbonize and curb emissions,” says Vitol. They point to the International Maritime Organization’s interim regulations released last October as another factor likely in the near term to spur growth in biofuels.

“Biofuels are a key pathway for the hard-to-abate shipping sector to mitigate emissions,” the company notes.

As a result, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore which controls the bunker market, reported that last year sales of biofuel increased by nearly four times. They reported biofuel sales in Singapore reached 520,000 tons in 2023 up from just 140,000 tons in 20222.

Vitol recently introduced the Marine Future, a nearly 335-foot (102-meter) bunker vessel in Singapore. The vessel was specifically designed for the biofuel sector and built in China. It has the capacity to carry about 7,000 MT of biofuels and in the future can also be re-configured to supply methanol.

It is the first bunker tanker in Singapore to have the appropriate design and designation to deliver 100 percent bio-component fuels. The previous vessels in the market are all oil tankers, and Vitol points out that regulations restrict them to a maximum of 25 percent biofuel component in biofuel blends.
Through its V-Bunkers operation, the company already operates more than 20 bunker barges based in Singapore. They anticipate the new vessel will contribute to the continuing rapid growth in biofuel sales. Starting with the Marine Future, Vitol can offer a range of biofuel blends.