Singapore bunkers seen little impacted by VPS sediment content alert: sources
31st March 2021 10:44 GMT

The recent alert issued by Veritas Petroleum Services on the presence of high sediment content in several bunker fuel samples it tested from Singapore will likely have a relatively muted impact on the market, industry sources told S&P Global Platts March 31.

"We haven't heard anything major from our side," a source at another testing firm said.

Singapore is the world's largest bunkering port. It is also located along one of the world's busiest waterways. A ship calls at the Singapore port every two or three minutes -- a total of around 130,000 ships a year.

So, bunker quality issues are monitored closely in the city-port as they could impact market fundamentals as well as marine fuel prices.

VPS said March 30 it had tested several fuel oil samples representing VLSFO deliveries in Singapore.

"The total sediment potential (TSP) measured up to 0.18 % m/m," it said, adding that the deliveries were made by multiple suppliers from March 19-23.

A shipowner said that they haven’t faced any problems in Singapore although there were some problems related to sediment in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp, or ARA, region in the last couple of months.

"We do not have sediment-related issues in our deliveries," a Singapore-based bunker trader noted.

Some cases were heard but they were likely not that significant to impact the market, he added.

The muted impact was also reflected in prices.

Singapore delivered VLSFO ex-wharf prices rose slightly since March 23 and were assessed at $485/mt on March 30, rising only 1.04% on the week, Platts data showed.

Operational issues 

Meanwhile, VPS also said in the same alert that the aluminium and silicon levels of these samples ranged up to 55 mg/kg, indicating that the fuels contain elevated amounts of highly abrasive particles that could cause accelerated wear of diesel engine components such as piston rings, cylinder liners and fuel pumps if not reduced to acceptable levels.

Ships consuming these fuels might experience increased sludge formation, particularly at the centrifuges and filters, leading to possible blockage and loss of centrifuge and filter functions, it said.

Sources said separately that it was therefore necessary to adhere to the ISO 8217 requirements for the grade ordered to avoid potential bunker fuel quality issues.

Elevated sediment levels will make optimum on-board bunker treatment more difficult to achieve.

It is further recommended to take samples before and after the fuel treatment plant to gauge the fuel oil quality at the engine inlet as this will help in any subsequent assessment of increased engine wear and damages, and in resolving fuel quality disputes, VPS said.

Bunkerworld .,
31st March 2021 10:44 GMT