Fueling Change – Preparing for the 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum & Methanol Bunkering Masterclass

The 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum and Methanol Bunkering Masterclass is slated to take place from 26th to 27th June 2024, at the prestigious Orchard Hotel located in Singapore. Meticulously curated by MediaComz International Pte. Ltd. and IBIA, the forum promises an immersive experience in the domains of Clean Marine Fuels and Methanol Bunkering, as well as extensive opportunities for learning and sharing knowledge among like-minded peers including experts, policymakers and stakeholders.

For more information, click here. Alternatively, contact ruth@mediacomz.com for registration.

From left to right:
Dr. Per Christer Lund, Science and Technology Counsellor at Innovation Norway
Mr. Saunak Rai, Head of FueLNG
Ruth Shannon Paul, Podcast Host
In preparation for the thrilling events coming up, the Petromin Podcast presents a new series called ‘Fueling Change – Preparing for the 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum & Methanol Bunkering Masterclass’. Each episode dives into highlights of the 8th Clean Marine Forum, discusses environmental sustainability in the maritime industry, and invites professional experts from around the world to analyse the past and future of Clean Marine Fuel.

This episode features Dr. Per Christer Lund. Dr. Lund currently serves as Science and Technology Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Singapore. With over 30 years of experience in the energy and processing industries, Dr. Lund’s expertise spans a multitude of fields. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, leading the charge in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

Our second guest is Mr. Saunak Rai, the head of FueLNG and Chairman of the National Technical Committee for Bunkering (Cryogenic and Gaseous Fuels). He has led FueLNG to remarkable milestones in the LNG bunkering operations, including winning the World LNG Award in 2021 for outstanding contributions to the LNG industry. Mr. Rai holds an MBA from Copenhagen Business School and is a licensed master mariner with extensive experience across different types of vassals.

In Episode 1 of ‘Fueling Change – Preparing for the 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum & Methanol Bunkering Masterclass’, Dr. Lund and Mr. Rai discuss the history of the Clean Marine Fuel Forum, talk about what to expect from the 8th Forum taking place in Singapore, and segue into a conversation for the future.
Let’s start with Per first. Per, you’ve been the chairman of Clean Marine for how long now?

Dr. Lund: I believe this is the third time I’ve been chairman. But there was the COVID period from 2020 to 2022 where we didn’t have the forum, so probably from 2019.
How has it been since the start and how is it right now? Any big changes?

Dr. Lund: The forum actually started out with a different name. Back in 2016, it was the LNG and Clean Marine Fuel Forum. The biggest change I would say is the change of name, reflecting the shift of focus from LNG which was the big transition fuel to cleaner marine operation, to even more low-carbon fuels—hydrogen, ammonia, these kinds of things. At that time, we thought LNG was the cleanest and greenest fuel. Now we’ve even taken it out of the title.
I’m sure the topics and panel discussions are different now too. That brings me to my next question, how did we even start LNG in the first place?

Dr. Lund: The overarching driver is to reduce the carbon footprint and contribute to the decarbonization of the maritime industry. Fuel is perhaps the single most important component of the mission. I found the forum was a very useful instrument for us at the Norwegian Embassy to promote Norwegian solutions, developments and technology in the Southeast Asian market. The forum has contributed substantially to the attention around those challenges of carbon emission from the maritime sector, and also highlighted the solutions and visions going forward. Would you agree, Saunak?

Mr. Rai: I agree, Per. One of the biggest challenges that IMO 2020 brought in was sulphur limits to fuel, and LNG had no sulphur. Norway had implemented a fantastic program for LNG and they were spearheading the technology, so that made the perfect combination for starting up a forum like this. LNG was able to reduce damage by about 23%, and as newer and other fuels also got into the picture they were added into the forum. It was very organically and structurally capturing the whole discussion.

Dr. Lund: Absolutely, and also adapting to the changing of objectives and new technologies and initiatives. It’s been a very good tool to drive the industry forward.
Talking about the shift in focus, who suggested the shift of the name?

Dr. Lund: That was the program committee. We do have quite a big committee of 15 to 18 persons across the industry, from researchers to shipowners to brokers to fuel providers. It’s a good cross-section of the maritime industry in Singapore. We have frequent discussions approaching the next forums, and we came to the consensus to change the name.
After the shift, did you see a positive impact on the people attending the forum?

Dr. Lund: The number of attendants has been approximately 110-120. The feedback is always good and the fact that people come every year is the best measure of success. And I think it contributes to the discussion as well, so definitely it’s a well-recognized event in Singapore.
Can you share some standout moments or achievements during your time as the chairman?

Dr. Lund: Some of the keynotes I remember from the maritime authorities, from other experts, are always good. The discussions, the way it is organized when it comes to networking and mingling, and also now with the masterclasses, are very valuable. The masterclasses were introduced last year, as an additional feature and a way to dig much deeper into the topics. Day 1 focuses on the high-level thematic discussions, and then it’s the masterclass.
And the masterclass is run by IBIA?

Mr. Rai: IBIA is one of the supporting organizations. They are very training-focused, and last year they came up with the LNG masterclass. Keeping up with the theme of what’s happening in the marine industry, this year it’s about methanol.
So let’s talk about this year’s event. Any sessions or topics that you’re particularly excited about this year?

Mr. Rai: What is exciting is that all the three sessions are very different. One of them looks into what is happening today. The second session gives us a glimpse of the future. And the third session takes us on a very different direction—regulations, rules, that kind of thing. This is a very interesting year because between the last two years, we had the MEPC from IMO and for the first time, it came out with very clear goals on emission. So there is no doubt where IMO stands, they very clearly said ‘net zero by 2050’. The EU ETS also started to include maritime fuel into their scheme. This forum will try to capture these two big events in maritime.

Dr. Lund: I’m also quite excited about looking into the future. We are touching on nuclear, which is a very exciting option. We introduced it last year, and since then there are more talks about the nuclear option in the maritime industry. Carbon capture onboard is also being tested out, and the newer fuels like hydrogen and ammonia. It’s interesting to see the developments there, things are happening so rapidly.
Per, you’re from Innovation Norway. Clean Marine is supported by the Norwegian Embassy in Singapore. How did this partnership come about?

Dr. Lund: As Saunak said, Norway has been a forerunner when it comes to clean maritime industry. One of the committees at the Rio Conference was headed by our former prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and that was the first time the words ‘sustainable future’ were introduced in the vocabulary when we talked about moving the world forward.

She explained that everything which is sustainable should not have an impact on the next generations—it’s the use of raw materials, resources, and energy in such a manner that doesn’t impact the ability to use these in the future. Norway was one of the very first countries in the world to implement a substantial CO2 tax. Later on, that idea of CO2 taxing for sustainability was introduced in one sector after another. The maritime sector, especially coastal transport, was subject to decarbonization.

Singapore is moving in the same direction, and there was a lot of reflection on the similarities—what can we learn and what can we teach about the coastal, deep-sea and shipping sectors. We found the forum and the maritime ecosystem in Singapore very appealing for what we’re doing. The embassy was all in, Innovation Norway was all in.
Immediately or did it take some convincing?

Dr. Lund: No, it didn’t take much convincing. It was quite obvious. 80% of the Norwegian companies in Singapore are in the maritime sector.

Mr. Rai: Singapore is also very futuristic. They have a very strong vision, which is quite long-term. I’m sure they were very welcoming to this idea.
How is this going to be for the future? Is this going to continue with collaborations or partnerships?

Dr. Lund: Absolutely. Last year, minister Chee Hong Tat went to Norway for Nor-Shipping and signed a Memorandum of Understanding—a collaboration agreement for the maritime industry, especially for decarbonization and green shipping. The Menon Report on the leading maritime capitals of the year always lists Singapore as number one. We are happy to be able to contribute, so going forward this is going to be increased.
That moves us to the second part of the podcast, because I’ve been hearing that you might be handing over the reins to Mr. Saunak. What is going to happen next? Does this mean there are going to be big changes for Clean Marine?

Tune into next week’s episode of the Petromin Podcast’s ‘Fueling Change’ series where we will continue this conversation and hear more from our distinguished guests about the 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum.
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