15 December 17 The Business Times by ANITA GABRIEL,JACQUELINE WOO
THE Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has injected another S$12 million to boost Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering in the Port of Singapore.
Half the amount has been set aside to co-fund the building of new LNG bunker vessels (LBVs) to facilitate the development of ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in the Port of Singapore, while the other half will be used to top up the MPA's existing co-funding programme to support the building of LNG-fuelled vessels, said the port authority in a statement.
The MPA in September 2015 had launched a S$12 million co-funding programme to support the building of LNG-fuelled vessels. It allowed for co-funding of up to S$2 million per vessel.
According to MPA, the initial funding for this programme has been fully utilised to support Keppel SMIT Towage, Maju Maritime, Harley Marine Asia, Sinanju Tankers and most recently, PSA Marine.
"With the implementation of the International Maritime Organization's 0.5 per cent global sulphur cap on Jan 1, 2020, LNG is a viable and tested solution for shipowners," said MPA chief executive Andrew Tan.
"As the world's largest bunkering hub, MPA will support future demand by promoting the development of ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in the Port of Singapore. This will provide the industry greater confidence in the availability of LNG supply across key shipping routes," he added.
Applications for the new fund for the building of LBVs are now open. MPA is inviting interested companies to tap it to co-fund up to S$3 million per LBV.
To apply, companies must be incorporated in Singapore, and the funded vessels must be registered with the Singapore Registry of Ships and licensed for bunkering activity in the Port of Singapore for at least five years.
The MPA has ramped up efforts in recent years to take the lead in LNG bunkering, with the government setting 2020 as its target to be "LNG bunker-ready".
In September, FueLNG, a joint venture between a unit of Keppel Offshore & Marine and supermajor Shell completed the first commercial transfer of LNG as marine fuel in Singapore. FueLNG was awarded one of two LNG bunkering licences by the MPA in January 2016.
The second LNG bunker licence is held by Pavilion Gas, which undertook its first LNG bunkering operation in May.
As the busiest bunker port worldwide, the Port of Singapore booked 46.3 million tonnes in bunker sales for the first 11 months of this year, according to data out on Wednesday - 3.6 per cent up on that from the same period a year ago.