Mandatory use of mass flow metering technology is making bunker delivery monitoring more transparent and accurate
All bunker tankers delivering distillates in the Port of Singapore have been mandated to use mass flow metering (MFM) by MPA as of 1 July 2019.
In a statement, MPA said “The use of the MFM system will enhance transparency in the bunkering process, improve operational efficiency, and increase the productivity of the bunkering industry.”
In bunker fuel trading, fuel is sold by mass but delivered by volume, which unlike mass can be affected by changes in pressure and temperature. Traditional measuring methods use manual sounding pipes to calculate bunker volumes, followed by manual calculations for bunker transfer volumes carried out with sounding tables to convert from volume to mass. MFM is considered to be a lot more accurate than these methods as it allows fuel to be directly measured by mass, giving a more accurate account of quantity during custody transfers. Further, it removes the possibility of operator error and simplifies operations. The system displays and records critical parameters in real-time, allowing users to address abnormalities on site.
It is a tamper-proof technology as MFM devices incorporate an unresettable totaliser and tamper-proof seals, ensuring the integrity of the system.
The decision to extent mandatory use of MFM to distillates delivery comes after positive feedback from a similar ruling regarding MFM and marine fuel oil deliveries, which took effect on 1 January 2017.
Speaking at an International Bunker Industry Association dinner in April 2018, MPA assistant chief executive for operations Captain M Segar said “As the world’s top bunkering port, it is important that we continue to set the highest bunkering standards to ensure fuel quality and reliability and this can be achieved through the use of MFM.
“This will also prepare the industry for an expected increase in delivery of distillates with the introduction of a 0.5% global sulphur cap from 1 January 2020 by the International Maritime Organization.
The MFM working group, established by MPA and Enterprise Singapore and comprising members of Enterprise Singapore’s Weights and Measure Office, National Metrology Centre @ A*Star and other bunkering industry stakeholders, carried out a trial of the system on five bunker tankers, Marine Pamela, Ocean Pioneer, Patimah, Sentek 25 and Wisdom.
After 1 July this year, all existing distillate bunker tankers supplying ocean-going vessels in the Port of Singapore will be required to be fitted with an MPA-approved MFM system. All new bunker tankers that apply for the Harbour Craft (Bunker Tanker) licence will also be required to have an MPA-approved MFM system installed.
MPA has set aside S$9M (US$6.7M) to co-fund an initiative to assist companies with the cost of installing MFM systems. For each existing bunker tanker delivering distillates in the Port of Singapore, a company may apply for co-funding of up to S$60,000 (US$44,444).
In January 2019, Maersk Oil Trading Singapore installed the world’s largest bunkering MFM.
An Endress+Hauser Promass X meter was installed on 110-m high-sulphur fuel oil tanker MT Eager, which has a capacity of 10,296 m3 and is under charter for Maersk Oil Trading from owner Hong Lam Marine.
Maersk Oil Trading also plans to install the technology, which uses Coriolis mass flow measurement, on another vessel on charter from Hong Lam Marine.
In November 2018, a team from the China Petroleum Circulation Association, an organisation responsible for developing oil policies and legislation in China, visited Singapore on a fact-finding mission to learn about bunkering with MFM. Marine fuel measurement firm Metcore International organised the trip in collaboration with Sinanju Tanker Holdings.
The delegates observed a live bunkering operation and application of Singapore’s Technial Reference for Bunker Mass Flow Metering on board the 89-m long bunker tanker Marine Rose, owned by Sinanju, which has a capacity of 6,022 m3.