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BHP Billiton, GoodFuels team up for Singapore's first biofuel bunkering trial

AUSTRALIA-BASED commodity giant BHP Billiton and clean fuel-focused GoodFuels are teaming up to run the first pilot bunkering operation with biofuel in Singapore.

The two parties on Thursday signed a letter of intent (LOI) for the pilot project at the inaugural biofuel roundtable organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

The Business Times understands that the pilot project involves refuelling or bunkering a BHP Billiton vessel in Singapore.

More shipowners may get involved in the project, and official details will thus be released at a later date.

The project partners are understood to be looking at eliminating emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide with this pilot trial.

This would result in a vast reduction of the environmental footprint over refuelling ships with conventional oil-based products.

The closed door roundtable event also saw participants including shipowners share insights into the use of biofuels in meeting increasingly stringent environmental regulations in the maritime sector.

The Nanyang Technological University's soon to be established centre of excellence focusing on maritime environment and energy, with support from MPA and the Singapore Maritime Institute, was also present to seek collaborative partnerships with shipowners to deepen Singapore's capabilities on the maritime environment and bio-energy front.

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said: "The roundtable comes at an opportune time in light of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) 0.5 per cent global sulphur cap on marine fuels which will come into effect from 2020, as well as IMO's longer-term plan to lower carbon emissions for shipping."

Singapore, as home to the world's top bunkering port, is working towards providing cleaner alternative sources of fuel to cater to the needs of the global shipping industry.

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