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Singapore urges additional bunker fuel testing on fuel quality concerns

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is encouraging marine fuel buyers to request additional testing to rule out quality issues that have plagued supplies at the world’s largest bunkering port in recent months, the regulator said in a statement late May 5.

MPA’s recommendations follow its investigation into bunker fuel quality in Singapore after reports that several ships were affected by tainted fuel containing high concentration of chlorinated organic compounds.

The quality issues have sharply tightened the demand-supply balances in the Singapore high sulfur fuel oil market as suppliers struggle to find replacement for the estimated 300,000 mt of fuel that is said to be contaminated, according to industry sources. The affected oil represents a significant proportion of available supply in Singapore that on average supplies around a million mt of HSFO bunkers a month.

In its latest statement, MPA said the contaminated HSFO cargo originated from the port of Khor Fakkan in the UAE. The regulator added that Glencore Singapore Pte Ltd had purchased the contaminated oil through Straits Pinnacle Pte Ltd, which had contracted its supply from Unicious Energy Pte Ltd.

The cargo was shipped to floating storage facilities in Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia before eventually landing in the fuel blending pool at Singapore, the MPA said. Glencore sold part of the contaminated blend to PetroChina International (Singapore) Pte Ltd, with both supplying the oil to several ships bunkering at Singapore, it said.

The companies mentioned by MPA could not be immediately reached for comment.

The contamination wasn’t promptly detected because market participants typically don’t test for the presence of COCs in marine fuels, as these chemicals aren’t part of the internationally accepted fuel quality standards, the MPA said.

While the occurrence of COC is rare in bunkers, the MPA said with immediate effect, it will include COC to the list of chemicals to be tested under its usual testing of bunker fuel in Singapore before and after it is supplied to a vessel.

Source: Platts

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