Fueling Change – Preparing for the 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum & Methanol Bunkering Masterclass Part 2

Join us for the 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum and Methanol Bunkering Masterclass, happening from 26th to 27th June 2024 at the prestigious Orchard Hotel in Singapore. Curated in partnership by MediaComz International Pte Ltd and IBIA, this forum offers an immersive experience in Clean Marine Fuels and Methanol Bunkering.

Take full advantage of the extensive opportunities offered to connect with, learn from and network among the industry’s best experts, policymakers, and stakeholders.

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

From left to right:
Ruth Shannon Paul, Marketing and Event Manager & Podcast Host, MediaComz
Elianne Braskamp, Media Director, MediaComz
Mr. Daniel Seow, Senior Market Advisor, Innovation Norway
Mr. Chris Chatterton, Managing Director, Green Marine Pte. Ltd
Mr. Sanjay Verma, Director – Decarbonization Solutions, Wärtsilä Singapore Pte Ltd
Dr. Per Christer Lund, Science and Technology Counsellor, Innovation Norway
Mr. Prabjot Singh Chopra, VP Technology, SeaTech Solutions International (S) Pte Ltd
Dr. Sanjay Kuttan, Chief Technology Officer, Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD)
Mr. Saunak Rai, Head of FueLNG

To celebrate the exciting events coming up soon, the Petromin Podcast is proud to present our new series ‘Fueling Change – Preparing for the 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum & Methanol Bunkering Masterclass’ where we take the helm of electrifying discussions about the 8th Clean Marine Forum and steer conversations towards Clean Marine Fuel and the pursuit of environmental sustainability.

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 2 of ‘Fueling Change – Preparing for the 8th Clean Marine Fuel Forum & Methanol Bunkering Masterclass’, Dr. Lund and Mr. Rai discuss the challenges of adopting sustainable practices in the maritime industry and the next steps for the forum after Dr. Lund’s departure.

Last episode we left off with a very interesting discussion. So, Per, we’ve heard that you will be leaving. What’s the situation and how is it going to be moving forward?

 

Dr. Lund: I’ve been at the embassy in Singapore for seven and a half years. That’s typically twice as long as is normal and maybe healthy, so my next assignment is in Tokyo as Energy Counsellor for Japan and Korea at the embassy.

So I have to step down and Saunak is taking the helm, but the planning and the execution of the forum is not only by the chair, it’s by the committee. I don’t have that much influence on the program. I coordinate, we have ideas, I facilitate the meetings, but the planning and the program and the execution are done by the committee.

[To Mr. Rai] There won’t be that much change, I believe, or do you have some great ideas?

Mr. Rai: Why break something which is already working so well? I’ve been part of this forum since 2018 or 2019, in various capacities: as a speaker, as a panellist, as a moderator lately, and also as part of the steering committee. These are very big shoes to fill.

[To Dr. Lund] You have been an inspiration, the way you have managed, and a lot of times in meetings there are different opinions; you have this unique ability to guide them all in one direction without conflict. That is something I want to learn from you. Having said that, you’re absolutely right that most of the work is done by the committee and we have some excellent experts there, so my job continues to be to learn from you, Per, in managing and steering them. Overall, I’ll keep it how it’s going as it’s already quite well done.

Congratulations on your new role as the Chairman! I’m sure there’s a lot more better things ahead of us, while keeping it as good as the past couple of years.
 
I have another question for you, Saunak. Now that you’re going to be stepping up immediately, how were the feelings for you?

 

Mr. Rai: I work very closely with Per and the committee, so I’m very well aware of what is happening and where the program is and what our plans are. I think the biggest thing is not having Per there, who is also a very good friend. He has done a fantastic job of bringing things up to this point. A lot of work has been done already, and my major task is to just keep us on that path.

So overall, I think it is okay. But we will miss you, Per, and we hope that if not face-to-face, you’re there online with our meetings to encourage and motivate us.

It’s so nice to see the chemistry between all the committee members. That shows the spirit that’s been built over the years. Having a good relationship with the rest of the committee also means that the success is just going to keep growing more and more.

 

Dr. Lund: That’s actually a very good point. I feel that those committee meetings and the process of developing this program, for me personally, are almost as valuable as the event itself. We’ve really built up a good tight team of the leading experts in Singapore, including Saunak of course, in this field. And to have this little community has been so valuable, because we use these relations in many other contexts as well. So we have this club of people that enjoy coming together.

Mr. Rai: All of these people have kind of a common goal, and that goal is aligned to what should be everyone’s goal on this planet now: how to reduce emissions, how to ensure our existence on this planet is as long as possible, and how to neutralize the impact of things that we have already done. I think all of these people coming from various aspects, companies, academics, they have that common passion.

Dr. Lund: Very complementary, everything from university professors to people in the industry and in the government agencies. It’s been really fun; I’m really going to miss it.

We wish you all the best, Per, and we’ll definitely stay in touch, see how we can do another event in Japan.

 

Dr. Lund: The concepts of green marine fuels and maritime decarbonization is not a Singapore-only thing. I will address that in Japan and Korea as well, they are also driving forward with this. So for the Asia perspective, we are thinking regionally. I’ll definitely be in the loop of the development in this area.

We’ll look forward to you returning every now and then. Now, a question for the both of you: what do you think are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the maritime industry right now, especially in terms of adopting cleaner fuels and reducing emissions?

 

Dr. Lund: I think the biggest challenge is the availability of green fuels, and the prioritization. The question then is, what are the losses from converting from wind and solar to liquid or molecular fuel on the ships. Does it really make sense for the maritime industry to take a big part of those very limited amounts of green fuels?

Yes, and no. To find that out, it’s beyond the maritime sector itself. The decarbonization of the sector has to be seen in a bigger context of ‘national’, ‘regional’ and ‘global’. That is both a challenge and an opportunity.

The other thing is probably about energy efficiency and measures on reducing the amount of fuel per transport kilometre, which is almost equally as important as replacing fossil fuels with greener fuels. But on the short term, fuel availability is going to be the big crux.

Mr. Rai: I absolutely agree with you, Per. When we say challenge, it’s also a significant opportunity for the maritime sector. We have had technical advancements in engine technology and fuel production technology. All the different kinds of energy, there’s space for them, but also different challenges for them to be implemented.

Availability, affordability, they’re very important parts. When you consider shipping, it’s a derived demand of global trade. And global trade, if you make it so expensive to operate, it will stop. It will have a bigger impact on countries. So these two things are important.

Also, one more important fact—if you look at DNV’s latest predictions, they have very good statistics on the percentage of future ships being built which use alternative fuel like LNG and methanol. We get a lot of excitement from them; a sizeable amount of them use LNG, a sizeable amount methanol, a little bit of ammonia. Overall, though, all of this is not more than 16%. That means 84% of the ships which will be running in the next twenty, thirty years, are still commercial fuelled.

I would say our biggest challenge is doing nothing. Those people, those shipowners, those charterers who are doing nothing, who are sitting there and waiting. Making them move, I think, is the biggest challenge.

And what do you think the reason is? Do you think it’s a mindset thing, or do you think the government could do more to help with, for example, affordability?

 

Mr. Rai: Shipping in itself is a very conventional industry, and people have a huge amount of inertia. When you talk about governments, I think IMO in their MEPC has taken a huge step by saying we cannot keep sitting anymore, 2015 net zero. For intermediate goals, they also brought in carbon intensity index (CII), so they are doing a lot to get this inertia to move.

What we need is, as I said, the consumer has push. Why are shipping companies at the foremost of maritime decarbonization? Because their customer is demanding. If all customers start demanding the reduction of emissions and clean maritime transport, you will see this inertia go away.

Dr. Lund: I also think that it isn’t really an equal playing field between different regions and countries. Some countries and regions are introducing CO2 taxes, some national targets. The IMO is of course global and will influence the entire industry, but a lot of the drivers now specifically the emission reduction targets and penalties are national.

Some of the countries’ shipping industries like Singapore are driving forward, while there are many others that don’t need to do anything right now, and that skews the competition playing field. Why would you? You’re giving a competitive edge, why wouldn’t you just play that as long as you can?

You saw that also with the SOx and NOx regulations. They were introduced in 2020 and the shipping industry was waiting until the very last moment, hoping for something else to happen. So I think the industry doesn’t do anything until it really, really has to because it skews their competitive position. It’s not an equal playing field. A global CO2 quota system, a tax cost to carbon, would have addressed it, but we are a pretty long way to go from that.

Thank you for that! We wanted our listeners to get a gist of the discussions they can expect at the Clean Marine Fuel Forum. And back to the event, Saunak and Per, how do you plan to enhance the role of networking and collaboration in the event itself?

 

Mr. Rai: It’s a three-step process. It starts with what Per was mentioning: the planning, and in planning we are including industry experts, academics, various industries and fuel types, manufacturers, people who use the fuel, people who sell the fuel. They come together into the steering committee and decide who the speakers will be, and what topics to discuss. Making the whole conference interesting, pertinent and important will capture interest from the industry and viewers, so that’s the first step.

The second step is execution. What you do in execution is people like you, spreading the word, and also the organizing company, Petromin, the Norwegian Embassy, all working along with the committee to make a very efficient structured event. And then, the way we manage the people who are coming so that they are able to have enough opportunities to discuss. We give a very good platform for them to ask questions, meet the panellists, encouraging the knowledge exchange.

The third step is feedback. We take feedback from people who attended and positively look into how we change next year’s event, whether it’s speakers, topics, venue. That is how we complete the loop. Keep it pertinent, keep it as good as possible for collaboration.

Another question for the both of you: how do you think events like the Clean Marine Fuel Forum fit into the picture of helping in sustainability? Do you think it makes a big impact, or what do you think can be done better in events like this?

 

Dr. Lund: This event is one of a series of similar, or related, events in the industry. I think it’s necessary to have a continuous discussion. Quite a few things said in one event will be repeated at the others, but this good message, this important discussion just has to be continued. There is always refinement, there is always new ideas coming up at these places.

But I also think it helps to build the community. You get to meet people, you get to sit down at the table with someone you haven’t met before. So I think the additional value is the networking opportunity, who you meet and who you exchange information with. Events like this are not only one-sided communication from the panellists or the presenters. It is the small talk that is happening after. So an element of this is also who you invite, who are in the audience, who do you sit at the table with, how do you have enough air in the program to let that happen. I think this actually makes a difference, by building the network and consensus on things that really need to be done to move this industry forward.

That brings us to the very last question for today. For those eager to contribute to the forum’s success, what is your message to them and how can they best support and engage with the forum’s initiatives moving forward?

 

Dr. Lund: I think it’s about the networking. Be open, be inviting at the forum and in the breaks after. Take the discussions and engage in the small talk around, maybe also contribute a bit on the Q&A on Slido. So I think it’s all about building and enhancing your network, and keeping that discussion up. Maybe raise some controversial ideas, not necessarily being an echo chamber but pushing the boundaries. That definitely contributes to the overall discussion.

Mr. Rai: I agree with you, Per. When you introduce a new idea, first they ignore it, then they criticize it, and then they finally after discussions adopt it and copy it. That’s how new ideas come in every field. If you ask me for a message—engage, collaborate, discuss. Not only in the forum but also on LinkedIn. Put up questions that you think need answers, put up your views on those questions.

This event, as part of the entire ecosystem, is enhancing collaboration. Bring in the passion, collaborate and engage. And that is exactly what we request for everyone to contribute.

I agree. We’ve taken a few things from this: if you’re passionate, if you wish to collaborate, if you like to challenge ideas, then the Clean Marine Fuel Forum is just for you. So don’t forget to register for your spot!
 
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