Ammonia bunkering in Singapore faces a reality check Ship’s crew

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By Jeslyn Lerh

SINGAPORE, May 2 (Reuters) – Singapore is unlikely to be ready for ammonia bunkering by the end of this year, Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) has said, while industry stakeholders have also expressed concerns over the feasibility.

The Port Authority’s clarification comes after the Global Center for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) said on April 27 that Singapore’s first transfer of ammonia to bunkers could be completed by the end of 2023.

“These views do not represent the assessment of the MPA and other government agencies — the timeline before the end of 2023 is unrealistic,” the Port Authority said in a May 1 statement, a day after a deadline for potential operators to submit comments of interest (EOI) in a process initiated last December.

The MPA said the schedule should be the outcome of its EOI process initiated with Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA) to build, own and operate low-carbon or zero-carbon hydrogen and ammonia bunker facilities on Jurong Island , do not anticipate.

MPA and EMA will thoroughly examine the proposals received, it said.

Ammonia is one of several fuels the shipping industry is exploring to reduce CO2 emissions and meet targets set by the International Maritime Organization, although industry officials have raised concerns about the feasibility of introducing ammonia as a bunker option.

“To illustrate just a few dilemmas, the whole world today produces about 175 million tons of ammonia … and it all goes to agriculture,” said Ralph Juhl, Hafnia’s executive vice president, at a forum hosted by the American Bureau of Shipping during the Singapore Maritime Week was organized last month.

“If you switch current fuel and ship usage to ammonia, we’ll have to produce more than 650 million tons more than 175,” Juhl said, adding that the industry would have to expend “tremendous amounts of energy just to make the fuel.” .

The cost of ammonia will also act as a deterrent.

“Will we burn ammonia even if ammonia (bunkering) is present? The answer is absolutely no because it will be three times more expensive than traditional fuel,” Peter Liew, CEO of Eaglestar Marine Holdings, told the forum.

The global shipping industry is striving to reduce its dependence on oil as it seeks to meet emission reduction targets set by the United Nations International Maritime Organization, including reducing carbon emissions by 40% from 2008 levels by 2030 and total greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050.

(Reporting by Jeslyn Lerh; Editing by Tony Munroe and Ed Osmond)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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