Friday 17 October 2014

Singapore gears up for LNG bunkering

Port authority move comes as part of global trend towards alternative fuels
By Marissa Lee, The Straits Times, 16 Oct 2014

SINGAPORE, the world's largest bunkering port, is gearing up to fuel ships with liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2020, as part of a global trend to move away from oil to gas to reduce emissions.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has engaged firms to embark on a pilot programme to work out the operational protocols for LNG bunkering here by 2017.

Under this programme, the MPA will fund up to $2 million a vessel for up to six LNG-fuelled vessels. "As we believe that there is a move towards alternative fuels going forward, probably post-2020 when it will really pick up pace, we're working towards LNG bunkering in Singapore by 2020," said Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew yesterday.

He was speaking at the opening of the Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON).

More than 1,600 delegates from over 50 countries converged at Resorts World Sentosa for the event, which has become the most popular forum for the marine fuels industry.

With stricter emissions regulations for shipping kicking in next year, the industry sees clean-burning LNG as one solution, among alternatives such as exhaust gas scrubbers and low-sulphur distillates.

Singapore, which opened its first LNG terminal last year, is set to lead the region in LNG bunkering.

In its pilot programme, the MPA will evaluate different modes of LNG delivery, including ship-to-ship transfers and terminal-to-ship transfers, to find the most cost-effective method.

Mr John Saunders, marketing and membership manager for the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel, a non-governmental organisation, said: "We're delighted that more investment is being put into LNG. There are many fuel alternatives and LNG seems to be making the headlines, but without ports that provide LNG bunkering, ships will not be able to dock there."

S'pore well-poised to be Asia's LNG-trading hub: Experts
Its trading, financial infrastructure and stable regulatory framework are favourable factors
By Carolyn Khew, The Straits Times, 29 Oct 2014

A PANEL of high-level energy experts has joined others in backing Singapore as a regional hub for natural gas trading.

Its existing trading and financial infrastructure, and reputation for a stable regulatory framework are some reasons why Singapore is well-poised to be a regional centre for the trading of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia, said the international experts.

"If there is a need for a place where gas could be marketed, exchanged and priced... We definitely feel that Singapore is particularly well-placed for that," said panelist Claude Mandil, former executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), a global energy association.

The International Advisory Panel (IAP) for Energy is made up of 17 experts who are energy executives, thought leaders and academics. The panel is chaired by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, and 12 of its panelists met here yesterday. The panel was set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to provide perspectives on emerging trends in energy, and to advise on the strategic directions for the energy sector here.

Speaking to reporters after a closed-door session at Swissotel The Stamford, Mr Iswaran said: "There is a clear recognition that there are many changes that are happening in the natural gas market in the world... We have an abiding interest in what is happening and... how we can prepare ourselves for the developments that lie ahead."

The panel noted that the global LNG market is likely to double in the next two decades, with strong growth in Asia. Dr Mandil noted that the demand for gas will increase as there are many benefits of using LNG.

"It's not expensive. It's good for the environment compared with other solutions, in particular, compared with coal," he said. "All countries in South and East Asia are bound to increase their share of gas energy needs."

However, developing Singapore as a regional hub will take time, said Mr Iswaran, although the Republic is already "working on a spectrum of areas", including expanding its infrastructure.

Earlier this year, plans were announced to build a second LNG terminal. And a contract has also been awarded to build a fourth tank at Jurong Island's LNG terminal to almost double its capacity. Last year, the IEA had said that the Republic had the best chance of becoming a trading hub for natural gas in Asia.

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