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Green methanol bunkering project to trial in Singapore in 2023

Green methanol bunkering project to trial in Singapore in 2023
Photo courtesy of A.P Moller - Maersk

Maersk Oil Trading, a part of A.P Moller – Maersk (MOT) and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) have agreed to jointly conduct a detailed feasibility study of methanol bunkering logistics with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Mitsui & Co. Energy Trading Singapore Pte. Ltd.(METS) in Singapore.

This joint project is in line with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) initial strategy to halve greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the shipping industry by 2050 compared to 2008 levels, which is also aligned with the direction of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to achieve decarbonization of the maritime industry in Singapore. 

Green methanol is expected to be one of the promising alternative marine fuels that has the potential to make significant contributions to reducing GHG emissions in the shipping industry. The project participants believe that establishing a safe and reliable operational platform is valuable to Singapore as a leading bunkering location globally.

Through the feasibility study, the project participants intend to investigate the design of the bunkering vessel, safe operating procedures, fuel storage and regulatory considerations by utilizing both MOT and Mitsui group’s strong presence in the Singapore marine fuel market. ABS will support the study by providing an operational risk assessment.

This project is targeting to conduct an actual ship-to-ship bunkering operation to a vessel in the first half of 2023.

The project participants have been engaging with various stakeholders in the maritime industry and aim to successfully complete the project and establish a stable alternative fuel supply chain for maritime decarbonization in Singapore.

“At A.P. Moller – Maersk, we have made great progress in identifying sources of green methanol and now developing and proving we can safely deliver it to our vessels is a key priority for us. It will contribute strongly to our target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040,” said Mikkel Kannegard, head of Maersk Oil Trading.

“We are pleased to have an opportunity to participate in this joint project in Singapore with reliable and like-minded partners. The project aims to establish a platform for the bunkering of alternative fuel for vessels and will lead to maritime decarbonization. Through this project and other GHG reduction initiatives, Mitsui will continue contributing to the realization of a carbon neutral society,” said Yoshio Kometani, representative director, executive vice president of Mitsui.

“Methanol presents an immediate and promising solution with practical advantages in storage, handling and carbon intensity reduction potential which is gaining traction in the market. The further development of green methanol (e.g. electrolysis and biogenic carbon) provides a viable option for carbon neutral operations. ABS is proud to be able to use its industry leading experience with methanol vessels to support this project,” said Panos Koutsourakis, ABS director, Sustainability Strategy.

“As the world’s top bunkering and transhipment hub port, MPA welcomes the news that our shipping industry is working on the use of methanol as a potential marine fuel. We look forward to engaging the participants on their project, the outcomes of which will be useful for the global transition towards sustainable shipping,” said Capt M Segar, assistant chief executive (Operations) of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.