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Stena Bulk working actively to reduce carbon footprint after IMO 2020 preparations

Stena Bulk is working actively to reduce its carbon footprint, having undertaken measures to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s global sulfur limit rule for marine fuels, Lars Malmbratt, Stena Bulk’s general manager for bunker procurement told S&P Global Platts.

In April 2018, the IMO announced its greenhouse gases strategy and targets to improve CO2 efficiency in shipping. The IMO has set targets that include a 50% cut in the shipping sector’s GHG emissions by 2050, compared with 2008.
“A strategy is under development to manage our exposure in the short, medium and long term. Reducing the vessels consumption by, for example, using sophisticated energy management systems and improving hull and machinery performance have been prioritized for many years,” Malmbratt told S&P Global Platts on February 5.

Methanol ferries are already on the waters and a large battery pack is currently in use on board another ferry for maneuvering in port, Malmbratt, who will be speaking at the upcoming Asia Pacific Maritime 2020 conference, said.

Stena Bulk recently ordered a series of dual fuel mid-range tankers running on methanol, Malmbratt said.

“Finally trials of different kinds of biofuels are ongoing and on a higher level various hydrogen carriers are being evaluated,” he said.

Stena Bulk is among the world’s leading tanker shipping companies. It controls a combined fleet of around 110 vessels, according to its website.

IMO 2020 PREPARATIONS
“We came well prepared to the 2020 changeover,” Malmbratt said adding that by September 2019 Stena Bulk was ready to start bunkering very low sulfur fuel oil, or VLSFO, on a vast majority of its tankers.

Education of the crew was completed, changeover plans had been finalized on all vessels, the company had performed a number of VLSFO trials, and contracts in strategic ports were in place, he added.

In the second half of 2019, installation of scrubbers commenced, Malmbratt said.

“The majority of the vessels in our fleet are consuming compliant fuel oil, but the investment decision to install scrubbers on a number of our owned vessels was a way to balance the exposure in the low sulfur space,” Malmbratt said.

“The strategy has so far panned out well with hi-lo spreads traded at levels we had used in our assumptions,” he said.

Still, demand for VLSFO is likely to stay robust moving forward, Malmbratt said.

The decline in oil prices in combination with delays at Chinese shipyards at the moment, does not work in favor of scrubbers, he said.

According to S&P Global Platts Analytics, about 2,200 scrubbers were operational globally as of January 2020. This figure is expected to ramp up to 3,500 ships by year-end, with more upside potential in 2021, according to them.

Delays at yards have been caused due to the huge number of retrofits because of the IMO 2020 rule, compounded by the fact that yards have also had to fit ballast water treatment systems in line with the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, industry sources told Platts. The recent coronavirus outbreak is also causing delays as the workforce stays away for fear of infection, they added.

Meanwhile, LNG’s potential uptake as a marine fuel also remains limited, Malmbratt said.

“Hence, we believe VLSFO will be the predominant fuel in the shipping industry for the foreseeable future, he added.

While the company has encountered a few quality issues mainly concerning stability/sediment and fuel waxing emanating from the use of VLSFOs, the crew has been able to handle the fuel on board, Malmbratt said.

Between December 24, 2019 and January 21, 2020, global testing and inspection company Veritas Petroleum Services, or VPS, for example, had issued seven bunker alerts worldwide relating to sediment issues within VLSFO fuels, it said in a statement made available to Platts recently.

However, bunker fuel quality issues worldwide could be limited if shipowners and operators exercised more caution, some sources said.

“With 2020 being the start of many changes in the marine fuel industry the coming years, deeper collaboration across the industry is of outmost importance,” Malmbratt said.
Source: Platts

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