Vitol Bunkers said Feb. 22 it has taken delivery of its first biofuel bunker barge, the Marine Future, at the port of Singapore, paving the way for the company to expand its footprint in the marine biofuels market in Asia.

“The addition of this specialized IMO type 2 notation bunker tanker to the V-Bunkers fleet will uniquely make it possible to supply biofuel blends including B24, B30 and up to B100, depending on customer specifications,” the company said in a statement.

“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 has the capacity to carry about 7,000 mt of biofuels, Vitol Bunkers said.

The current fleet of bunker tankers in Singapore are classified as ‘oil tankers’ and are therefore restricted to a maximum 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.

In December 2023, Vitol said it had successfully 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 system 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.

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

Source: Hellenic Shipping News