Total is readying to make 0.5% sulfur content fuels available at major bunkering ports from the fourth quarter of this year ahead of the IMO 2020 regulation, and the state oil firm is projecting a gradual global uptake of LNG as a marine fuel.
Total Marine Fuels has prioritized Europe’s Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) major bunkering hub, France, Germany and Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port, for the supplies of IMO 2020-compliant marine fuels as early as from September or starting October, according to Jérome Leprince-Ringuet, Managing Director of Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions (TMFGS).
“We will have low sulfur fuels available for our current customer base and beyond. We have been working to ensure that in the major hubs that we operate – Europe, Asia and Africa – we will be able to supply compliant low sulfur fuels,” stated Jérome Leprince-Ringuet.
“However we see the future of 2020 as a mix of solutions with not only low sulfur fuels but also high sulfur fuels and alternative fuels where we think LNG is a clear choice,” he added.
Total is looking at a production proportion of 75-85% low sulfur fuels, 10-20% high sulfur fuels and up to 5% LNG between 2020 to 2025.
“I’d caution that even if there’s availability of high sulfur fuels in future, owners who have chosen to use this fuel with scrubbers must know that in remote and smaller ports, the availability of storage, high sulfur fuel oil bunker barge and product itself are not guaranteed. The owners will need to secure the high sulfur fuels in advance,” maintained Jérome Leprince-Ringuet.
And while the market share of LNG as fuel could still be the smallest at a projection of 5% by 2025, Jérome Leprince-Ringuet believes that the clean gas is the “best option for the future and the best option amongst all the alternative fuels”.
Total is currently developing LNG bunkering projects in Europe, the Middle East and Singapore, as the oil refiner is backing the emergence of LNG as fuel due to its sound “business case”, Jérome Leprince-Ringuet said.
He noted that CMA CGM, for instance, has chosen LNG-propulsion for their next generation of containerships, and a lot of passenger vessels, ferries and ro-ros in Europe have turned to use LNG. The world’s major bunkering hubs are also promoting the use of LNG as fuel, and the price of LNG is expected to stay cheaper than marine gasoil.
“All these are examples of business case that works so we are very engaged in the development of the LNG bunkering market,” commented Jérome Leprince-Ringuet.
Total’s global network of marine lubricants supply, meanwhile, is expected to complement its low sulfur fuels supply come 2020.
Robert Joore, General Manager of Total Lubmarine, said Total is currently testing a new version of lubes to add to its already extensive portfolio of lubricants that are available in 100 countries in more than 1,000 ports.
“With the existing portfolio we have, in fact, we are already prepared for 2020. But we are currently testing a new version of product in order to have a better product available and ready,” Robert Joore said.
Jean-Philippe Roman, Technical Director at Total Lubmarine, said that low BN (base number) lubes will become the most important product in its portfolio due to the 2020 Marpol Annex VI regulation. Total Lubmarine is currently testing a new version of its BN 40 lubricants for use with low sulfur fuels. From 2020, Jean-Philippe Roman expects that Total Lubmarine’ portfolio will be centered on the BN 40 product, shifting away from its current widely used BN 70 product.
“We are currently developing and testing the new version BN 40 product for 2020. However, engine manufacturers have pointed out some sensitivity on engines in terms of deposit formation, so we are recommending customers take a measured approach to the transition by using a higher BN of 57 that we already have in our portfolio,” Jean-Philippe Roman said.
“For LNG-fuelled engines or vessels continuously operating on 0.1% sulfur distillate fuels, we have developed a new BN 25 product. We will still supply the higher BN 100 product for use with high sulfur fuels and ships using scrubbers,” he added.