More than 140 delegates took part in the 7th Bunkernet Bunker Conference, jointly organised by Bunkernet and IBIA. The conference was run in conjunction with the East Med Marine and Oil & Gas Exhibition at the Grand Resort in Limassol, Cyprus on Thursday April 11. The focus was, as you might expect, the impact of 2020. The day before the event, IBIA ran a 1 day seminar for Bunkernet staff and invited guests at the Bunkernet office where 20 attendees explored the technical, operational and commercial issues for the sellers and buyers of bunkers and the interaction with the port authorities.
The conference itself started with a view of life after January 1, 2020 from Unni Einemo, Director of IBIA. She described the developments at IMO that have given us the framework for liquid fuels after 2020 and provided an insight into the internal debates, compromises and conclusions of the regulations as they stand.
We then had an interesting update of the issues and challenges faced by analysts and journalists in reporting the price history and predictions for the anticipated new blends from Eleni Pittalis from Platts EMEA (S&P Global Platts). She was able to show that as the first contracts for 0.50% sulphur fuels are taking place we begin to see the likely differentials, but warned that these will change over the next six months as the traded volume increases. She also explained the importance of the changes in refining and the demand outside of the marine fuel sector when trying to understand why the price does not always respond as we expected.
The technical considerations were described and explored by Naeem Javaid, the Global Operations Manager FOBAS at Lloyd’s Register. He highlighted that at this time the analysis of the new blends was not in the public domain and that whilst the trials on board ships were ongoing and generally doing well, there were still issues and as more suppliers embarked on blending their own product the picture may change.
After a networking break, Fillipos Athanassiadis from ExxonMobil Lubricants took us though the importance of analysing the “scrape down” from cylinder lubrication as a guide to cylinder condition and an early warning of lubrication problems and its continued significance after 2020.
The conference then shifted focus to the potential for LNG, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean which was covered by George Polychroniou from DEPA who is the Project manager for the Poseidon Med II initiative which will develop LNG bunkering facilities for ports in Italy, Greece and Cyprus.
The final presentation was from Stavros Meidanis from Capital Ship Management who addressed 2020 from the shipowner’s perspective. He highlighted the difficulties in balancing compliance with cost, timescale and risk when choosing the best solutions and made it clear that the ship operator is the most exposed player, especially if there is not a genuine “level playing field”.
The conference concluded with a 45 minute panel Q & A session, moderated by IBIA board member Nigel Draffin, which was wide ranging and could have run on for additional 30 minutes if it was not for the delegates need for lunch!
Report by Nigel Draffin