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Singapore's marine biofuel demand could double by 2025

(Reuters) - Marine biofuel demand at the world's largest bunker hub Singapore could potentially double by 2025 to almost 1 MMt from 2023 levels as shippers seek to cut emissions, a senior TotalEnergies executive said.

More shipping companies have been conducting refueling trials using marine biofuel as an alternative to conventional fuel oil to reduce carbon emissions.

"Looking ahead to 2025, we foresee a potential surge in biofuel (bunker) demand in Singapore, potentially nearing 1 MMtpy," Louise Tricoire, vice president at TotalEnergies Marine Fuels told Reuters.

Bio-blended marine fuel sales at Singapore more than tripled to over 500,000 tons last year, data from Singapore's port authority showed.

Total sales in 2023 surpassed initial estimates as regulations on carbon intensity indicator (CII) boosted growth, said Tricoire.

A CII is a measure of how efficiently a ship transports goods or passengers in grams of carbon dioxide emitted per cargo-carrying capacity and nautical mile.

The International Maritime Organization last year approved interim guidelines on how certified sustainable biofuels could be used to improve a ship's CII rating.

However, the demand outlook is still contingent upon biofuels pricing and development of more infrastructure such as barging and tanking facilities, said Tricoire.

Bunker prices of B24 bio-marine fuel blend remain at least $200 above 0.5% low sulfur fuel oil, a price gap that still deters mass adoption, industry sources said.

TotalEnergies Marine Fuels is among Singapore's key marine biofuel suppliers in 2023, though it declined to comment on specific volumes. Its biofuel offerings are second-generation product and ISCC-certified.

Demand for lower-carbon marine fuel is poised to increase from this year globally as the European Union Emissions Trading System kickstarts for the shipping industry.

This means ships have to pay for their generated emissions so burning lower-carbon marine fuel helps lower costs.

Net carbon emissions can be reduced by nearly 20% using a biofuel blend compared to using traditional fuel oil, a trial by the Global Centre of Maritime Decarbonization found.

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