IBIA (Asia) Bunker Forum – Singapore Bunkering Scene – Looking Ahead


IBIA Panel discussion

International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) -Asia conducted a forum viewing at the local (Singapore) bunkering scene covering areas of topical interest to the bunker industry:

The forum was supported by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) and General Insurance Association. The below excerpt was exclusively captured and written by MFAME team. Want your event to be captured and publicized, do not hesitate to write to us at experts@mfame.guru


The topics of the forum include:

1) Keynote speech by MPA

2) Fuel Quality

  1.   a) Fuel quality trends, distillate & new fuel challenges
  2.   b) Maximising Value of Residual Fuels Through Understanding Fuel Quality and Functions of Chemical Additives

3) Panel discussion on Mass Flow Metering – views from the Industry

Venue: Capital Towers, Singapore – 25th November 2015.

Keynote Address: –

Dr. Parry Oei, Director (Port Services)/Chief Hydrographer, MPA.

Other Speakers:

  1.     Mr. Tok Lim Hoe – Consultant/ Sciencescan Consultancy – Maximizing Value Of Residual  Fuels Through Understanding Of Fuel Quality And Functions Of Additives.
  2.     Capt. Rahul Choudhuri – Managing Director- Veritas Petroleum Services (Asia, M.E & Africa).

Panel Discussion – Mass Flow Metering – Views from the Industry:

Chair by –

Mr. Douglas Raitt, Chairman IBIA (Asia)

Panel Members:

Mr. Douglas Raitt, Global FOBAS Manager / Lloyd’s Register,

Dr. Parry Oei /MPA,

Mr. Kenneth Kee, Technical Advisor / Hong Lam Marine,

Mr. Guido Cardullo, Dy. Managing Director / Fratelli Cosulich Bunkers,

Mr. Dennis Ho, General Manager / Aegean Bunkering.


  • Dr. Parry Oei explained about the changes which are expected in the near future such as E-BDN, LNG & MFM bunkering.
  • Explained regarding the job scope of bunker surveyor in MFM era, MPAs plan to train surveyors to do the zero check and other MFM related technical expertise.
  • Requested the bunker surveying bodies to continue the unparalleled service to the customers and find a way to create a robust and thriving business environment.

Maximizing Value Of Residual  Fuels Through Understanding Of Fuel Quality And Functions Of Additives  – Mr Tok Lim Hoe – Consultant /Sciencescan Consultancy:

  • Mr Tok Lim Hoe explained that the refineries, in order to increase the oil yield and thus the refining margin, has adopted increased cracking severity.
  • Explained about the primary and secondary refining process on the topic of how residual fuels are made.
  • Explained about the Atmospheric distillation (Component for Residual Fuel: Long Residue) and Vacuum Distillation (Short Residue).
  • Explained about the various types of cracking such as Thermal Cracking (asphaltene molecules become less stable), Visbreaking (asphaltene molecules become more unstable), Hydrocracking (reduces Sulphur but makes fuel more paraffinic), Catalytic Cracking (introduces catalytic fines, Aluminium and Silicon), and Coking  that reduces residual fuel availability.
  • Explained about the conventional and unconventional blending trends in the industry and hinted that the unconditional blending is surpassing the conditional blending.
  • Conventional blending is done within the refineries battery limits.
  • E&S department (Economic & Scheduling) nominates blends according to the viscosity at 50 deg C and Sulphur. Pour Point and Stability are measured on nominated blends and if found off-specs, additives could be added to improve these and allow maximum use of conventional components available in the refinery.
  • In unconventional Blending, the components may be derived from chemical industry (solvents of any kind, acids), used lube oil (introduces zinc, calcium and phosphorous), slurry oil (from petrochemical plant brings along aluminium and silicon) and water (deliberate inclusion to reach 0.5%)
  • This will lead to oxidation instability, formation of acids, chlorinated compound causes dioxin emission, sediments of zinc, calcium aluminium and silicon in the oil, higher density(reduces water separation efficiency) and high CCAI that leads to combustion-related difficulties.
  • Solution to these issues can be an introduction of new specification items and limits such as Zn, Ca & P limits, Al + Si limits, Ash content, CCAI, Acid Number & Strong Acid Number.
  • Explained that usage of Catalytic Fine Settling Aid (additive) could allow more slurry oil to be included after settling out the fines and usage of Ignition Aid & Combustion Improver can be used to assist combustion and help to put more aromatic-rich (high CCAI) component into the residual fuel.

Key Challenges In Marine Fuel Management – Capt. Rahul Choudhuri, Managing Director – V P S (Asia, Middle-East & Africa):

  • Capt. Rahul Choudhuri has compared and explained the fuel trends between last year and this year. ECA 0.1% sulphur cap has lead to a major shift in fuel usage. The trend shows that there is up to 50% more distillates being used than residuals in the ECA.
  • Explained about the positives of Hybrid fuels as it’s ignition & combustion quality is good; better viscosity so need not to worry about internal leakage; Al + Si content as it can be easily reduce maker’s specifications, optimum energy value; better lubricity and more importantly cheaper than LSMGO.
  • Mr. Choudhri specifically emphasized that there has been no compatibility problems or other operational issues in using the ULSFO or HDME fuels.
  • Shown a slide on one of the Asian customer’s feedback on consumption of hybrid fuel as they face no problems in using and optimum cost savings. The specification of hybrid fuel is given below:
Density Kg/m3Viscosity cStMCR % m/mAl+Si    Mg/KgPour Point degree CCCAIEnergy


  • Insisted that the bunker industry should take the lead in implementing the new ISO 8217:2012 fuel quality standard more robustly as a positive change process is needed for the greater efficiency. VPS recommended that ISO 8217:2012 be specified by buyers simply because it is a better quality fuel.
  • Shared his views as sampling compliance needs improvement and bunker surveyors should play a vital role in this implementation.

FAQ Session on MFM

Q: What will happen if MFM fails during Bunkering?

Mr. Kenneth Kee – First MFM was installed in June/July 2012 in a Bunker tanker and it has been three and a half years since then. We have had only one case of MFM failure due to a power failure or ‘Black-out’ on the bunker tanker. As a corrective action and design improvement, we have installed an UPS (uninterrupted Power Supply), after which we did not come across any such cases. As such MFM did not fail intrinsically, whereas it failed due to external factor which is total power failure. One important aspect which is essential is if in any case

Q: When MFM fails during bunkering, how or what quantity will be recorded in BDN?

Mr. Kenneth Kee – In such cases of failures, two BDNs are to be issued. The first BDN will have the figures from MFM during start of bunkering and the last reading it recorded during failure. Then the procedure should shift back to conventional manual gauging agreed by both vessel and the supplier. The second BDN shall include the figures of manual gauging, thus the final quantity bunkered will be both the BDN quantities put together.

Q: Will MFM eliminate the Cappuccino effect on Bunkers?

Dr. Parry Oei – MPA has not witnessed even a single case or complaint from the fuel users when it comes to bunkering from a tanker which has MFM installed onboard.  MFMs can eliminate the Cappuccino effect.

Q: Which readings will be considered if both the Bunker tanker and the Ship are equipped with MFM?

Mr. Kenneth Kee – Definitely the one which is installed on the Bunker tanker would be more appropriate for various reasons. MPA has relatively more control on the MFMs installed on the bunker tankers than what is installed on the ships. The MFMs installed on the ships may not be subjected to rigorous calibration requirements, certification process, monitoring and metering and other corrections which are always under control when it comes to a bunker tanker. A bunker tanker’s MFM will be subjected to stringent inspection and calibration standards whereas the same may not be applicable for the ships. Thus, the MFM installed onboard the bunker tanker has always the upper hand. However theoretically, both the shipboard MFM and the bunker tanker MFM should read the same if they are calibrated and certified.

Q: What Parameters MFM records?

The MFM can capture Density, Viscosity and Temperature. There might be advanced versions which has additional sensors to capture other parameters.

Q: Are Bunker Tankers loaded via MFM?

Yes. Bunker tankers are always loaded via MFM. Thus the net quantity loaded and the net quantity delivered should always match with allowed instrumental errors (accuracy). In fact, MPA or any authority can find out whether the bunker tanker had suffered any discrepancies.

Q: How Many bunker tankers are fitted with MFM in Singapore?

So far 48 bunker supply barges are fitted with Mass Flow Meters.

Q: Does all vessels and bunker tankers comply with SS600 bunker standards? If MFM is equipped in a bunker tanker, then bunker surveyors have no role to play!

Although MFM will be fitted on all bunker supply barges in Singapore by mid- 2017, Bunker Surveyors are recommended to be engaged because about 37% of all bunker sampling is still not in compliance with SS600 requirements according to VPS. That is, sampling, among other deficiencies, is not from the custody point on the receiving vessel.

MFM must be operated properly. This was emphasised by a MFM manufacturer’s rep who was on the panel. One way this can be ensured is by engaging a trained Bunker Surveyor to verify proper operation. This mean that suitable Bunker Surveyors must be trained and certified accordingly by MFM manufacturers. In other words, Bunker Survey Companies with Surveyors so trained will succeed in getting more BQS business. Somewhat related to this is the suggestion by Mr Seah Khen Hee of the Singapore Chemical Council that develop bunkering standards during the tea break is to have Bunker Surveyors not only to just attend MFM familiarisation courses, but to have in-depth knowledge of MFMs. Of course, another reason for engaging a Bunker Surveyor is that the receiving vessel’s tanks can be sounded and ROB verified.

Q: What will be the future of Bunker Surveyors in the MFM Era – Will They Lose Jobs or more to contribute?

It is very obvious to think what will be the future of bunker surveyors in the Mass Flow Meter Era as MFM by itself senses the temperature, density and converts the volume of oil in the line to Metric Tonnes (m3 to MT). In an ideal case, the MFM figures will be agreed by both the parties and thus the role of bunker surveyor can be eliminated. However, MPA has plans to suggest additional jobs for bunker surveyors. These additional jobs are but not limited to MFM’s zero calibration check and verification of accuracy. Employing trained and approved bunker surveyors for such key jobs will cost less as against employing a 3rd party companies.

At present, MPA is concentrating on the development of new standards on MFM Technical Reference (TR) and LNG Technical Reference (TR) as well as implementing methods and techniques to verify the accuracy of the Mass Flow Meter. High importance has been given for creating a simple, understandable TR which offers unified understanding for implementation without any ambiguity.

Q: Density mentioned in the supplier’s BDN or COQ (Certificate Of Quality) / Density sensed by the Mass Flow Meter – which will be used for calculation or quantification purpose?

MFM sensed density will be considered for calculation and the same will be used  for all official records. The supplier quoted density in COQ is only for specification purposes and not for calculation/quantification.

Q: Will MFM impact Bunker Prices?

Yes. MFM equipped barges will hike prices but it will be benchmarked with other suppliers to gain the competitive advantage in the market. In fact, MFM equipped barges will benefit more as they can supply to more ships (time saving); good reputation in the market (no discrepancies); quicker turn time leading to more bunker sales.

Q: Ship’s Tanks are calibrated so as Bunker Tankers. But ships always receive lesser quantity and protest on it. Why is this happening and how to deal with this?

Bunker tanker’s tank calibration will be more accurate than the ship’s tanks because, ship’s tanks are not calibrated as accurate as what bunker tanker undergoes during construction. The bunker tanker’s tanks are designated for bunker supply which otherwise can be called as Cargo tanks. As per MPA, Bunker Standard SS600:2014 is based on bunker barge and not ship’s tanks.

The discussion forum came to an end with a short speech from Mr. Douglas Raitt and the audience congratulated for hosting a great forum with insightful talks and answering questions.

For more event coverage or FAQs please do not hesitate to write to us!


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