Singapore Welcomes Vitol Bunkers’ First Biofuel Barge Delivery

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  • Vitol Bunkers acquired its first biofuel bunker barge, the Marine Future, at Singapore’s port on Feb. 22, signaling an expansion into the Asian marine biofuels market.
  • Mike Muller, head of Vitol Asia, mentioned that the vessel could be re-configured to supply methanol based on demand.
  • The Marine Future, built in China, is 102.6 m long and can carry about 7,000 mt of biofuels, according to Vitol Bunkers.
  • Unlike existing bunker tankers classified as ‘oil tankers’, the new bunker tanker has no restrictions on biofuel blends and can deliver bunker fuels consisting of 100% bio component (B100).
  • Singapore’s marine biofuels sales surged in 2023, reaching 520,000 mt compared to 140,000 mt in 2022, as per Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore data.
  • S&P Global analysts projected that by 2050, alternative fuels (excluding LNG and LPG) could constitute 39% of the bunker fuel mix, with biofuels estimated at 9% and methanol at 30%.

Vitol Bunkers Unveils Biofuel Bunker Barge

On February 22, Vitol Bunkers announced the acquisition of its inaugural biofuel bunker barge, the Marine Future, at Singapore’s port, signaling the company’s entrance into the burgeoning marine biofuels sector in Asia.

“Should there be demand, this vessel can also be re-configured in the future to supply methanol,” Mike Muller, head of Vitol Asia said.

Built-in China, the Marine Future is 102.6 m in length and can carry about 7,000 mt of biofuels, Vitol Bunkers said.

The current fleet of bunker tankers in Singapore is classified as ‘oil tankers’ and is therefore restricted to a maximum of 25% bio component in biofuel blends. This new bunker tanker has no such restriction and can deliver bunker fuels consisting of 100% bio component, or B100, the company said.

Vitol Bunkers Expands Biofuel Reach

In December 2023, Vitol said it had completed its first biofuel delivery in Fujairah. The fuel was sourced from its Fujairah-based refinery FRL and blended with regionally sourced biofuel at VTTI storage facilities.

Vitol Bunkers, or V-Bunkers, is a leading Singapore-based operator of over 20 bunker barges, the company said.

Biofuels are a key pathway for the hard-to-abate shipping sector to mitigate emissions. They can be used on a drop-in basis with little modification to existing propulsion systems and bunker infrastructure, while also aiding global shipping’s decarbonization goals.

In 2023, Singapore’s marine biofuels sales reached 520,000 mt, surging from 2022 when sales hit 140,000 mt, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore data showed.

Biofuels Market Faces Cost Hurdles Despite Growth Prospects

In its latest Freight Markets Bunker Forecast in February, analysts at S&P Global Commodity Insights said the biofuels market was a “well-developed one” but prices were “prohibitively expensive at this point”, deterring their widespread adoption.

The reference case for overall bunker demand for 2050 is around 300 million mt, according to S&P Global analysts. In its 2050 higher alternative fuels uptake case, all alternative fuels excluding LNG and LPG will comprise about 39% of the bunker fuel mix then. Of this, biofuel will likely constitute 9% and methanol 30%, they added.

Platts assessed B24 bio-bunkers Singapore at $785.88/mt on Feb. 21, S&P Global data showed. B24 bio-bunkers in Singapore averaged $748.91/mt in 2023. Platts first began assessing B24 bio-bunkers in Singapore on May 8, 2023.

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Source: spglobal