27 October 2010

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 16th Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition, better known as SIBCON. Since its inception in 1988, SIBCON has grown to become the premier forum for the global bunkering industry to discuss the latest industry trends. This year, we have gathered 1,000 participants from some 50 countries, upholding SIBCON's standing as the world's largest bunkering conference.

A New Marine Fuels Landscape

The theme for this year's SIBCON is "Forging Ahead - a New Era for Marine Fuels". Even as the global economy gradually recovers from the financial crisis, the bunkering industry is presented with new challenges as well as opportunities.

Key among them is the need to deal with the issue of environmental protection and climate change. Given developments in global negotiations on these issues, it is inevitable that the bunkering industry will have to take an active role in developing environmentally-sustainable energy solutions. I understand that the industry and its shipping partners have successfully worked on reducing sulphur in marine fuels. As the world grapples with the impact of climate change, the industry must also play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This year's SIBCON will therefore take a closer look at these environmental challenges. I encourage you to use this opportunity to discuss how the bunkering industry can develop innovative solutions while still promoting growth, just as it has successfully done in the past.

Singapore as a Bunkering Hub

Singapore continues to grow as the world's top bunkering port. In 2009, bunker sales grew 4 percent to reach 36.4 million tonnes. From January to September this year, sales grew a further 12 percent. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, or MPA, expects full-year volumes to reach about 40 million tonnes this year.

Our record bunker sales would not have been possible without a strong partnership between government and industry. In this regard, the MPA works closely with the industry to ensure that our bunkering services are competitive and delivered under the highest quality and safety standards. This government-industry partnership has also played a key role in fostering a conducive business environment that has attracted new bunker suppliers this year, such as Singapore-listed Noble Group and Southern Petrochemical from Guangzhou, China. Our pool of 80 suppliers and a host of complementary services offer marine fuel buyers the best value proposition.

Let me also share with you some recent initiatives where MPA has partnered industry to enhance Singapore's bunkering services.

Application of Mass Flow Metering in Bunker Deliveries and MINT Funding

One initiative is a study of the application of mass flow meters in bunkering as an alternative to conventional tank gauging. All of you in the industry are aware that improving the measurement of bunker deliveries is a perennial challenge for suppliers and ship operators. Adoption of these mass flow meters can therefore improve operational efficiency and enhance transparency in the bunker process. Tomorrow, a Working Group comprising key industry stakeholders, MPA and SPRING Singapore will share their experiences from the meter trials conducted in Singapore.

MPA will also set aside S$1 million from its Maritime Innovation & Technology Fund, or MINT Fund, to support further research and development and test-bedding of mass flow meters by the bunker industry.

Study on LNG as an Alternative Marine Fuel

Another area of research is the development of sustainable marine fuels. In doing their part for environmental protection, governments such as Singapore and Norway in partnership with industry are studying the feasibility of using Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, for short sea hauls. Earlier studies suggest that LNG is a cleaner alternative with substantial reduction in carbon emissions. Given this potential, MPA will participate in a joint industry study led by the DNV Technology Centre to assess the market for LNG as a marine fuel. Results from this study will help us evaluate the longer-term potential development of LNG bunkering services in Singapore.

Interactive Guide for Bunkering in Singapore

To enhance the ease-of-use of our bunkering system, I am pleased to note that MPA has introduced a multimedia guide that spells out the roles and responsibilities of each designated officer in Singapore's bunkering process. I believe both bunkering officers and ship engineers will find this a useful tool. You will get to see some highlights later; and MPA will be happy to walk you through a demonstration at their booth.


Ladies and gentlemen, these are interesting times for the bunkering industry. The Singapore Government remains committed to the continued development of Singapore as a premier bunkering port. On this note, it gives me great pleasure to declare SIBCON 2010 officially open. I look forward to your active participation and your continued support of our efforts to continuously expand Singapore as a leading bunkering centre.

Thank you.