(Updates with details)
SINGAPORE, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Singapore's Pavilion Energy and Japan-based Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL) said on Wednesday they would launch a liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker vessel in the first quarter of 2023, a move that would increase Singapore's supplies of the fuel for ships.
The Singapore-flagged vessel named Brassavola is 116.5 meters in length and 22 meters in wide and has a capacity of 12,000 cubic meters. It is owned by MOL subsidiary Indah Singa Maritime Pte Ltd and will be chartered by Pavilion LNG Bunker I Pte Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pavilion Energy.
The vessel will be employed by Pavilion Energy to supply LNG bunker in the port of Singapore, the world's largest bunkering port, the companies said in a statement.
TotalEnergies Marine Fuels, TotalEnergies' global bunkering unit, will also be employing Brassavola to supply LNG bunker to its customers via a long-term agreement with Pavilion Energy.
"When launched into operation in 1Q 2023, Brassavola will be Singapore's largest LNG bunker vessel," Pavilion Energy and MOL said.
Major shippers, including CMA CGM and BHP Group, are using LNG for part of their fleet to cut emissions, although prices of the fuel, mainly used in power generation, have skyrocketed this year because of Russian gas supply cuts following the Ukraine war.
Last year, Singapore recorded more than 50 million tonnes of total bunker sales, including LNG bunkers sold via ship-to-ship arrangements, said Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Chee Hong Tat.
"We believe LNG is a pragmatic transition fuel which is already available today," said Chee at the Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) 2022.
He added that Singapore's port completed a total of 24 ship-to-ship transfer operations in 2021.
Earlier this week, BHP Group said it expected to receive three more bulk carriers powered partly by LNG in the next six to nine months.
Chee also said that Singapore is preparing to bunker biofuels to ocean-going ships, with 70,000 tonnes of biofuel already supplied in the country across more than 40 biofuel bunkering operations.
Singapore's maritime and port authority (MPA) said in a separate statement on Wednesday that it, along with industry, academia and other government organisations, has developed a provisional national quality standard for marine biofuel to support the development of biofuel bunkering.
"MPA has also developed a framework setting out conditions under which licensed bunker supplies may supply biofuel within the Port of Singapore to support trials conducted by vessels." (Reporting by Emily Chow and Jeslyn Lerh; Writing by Florence Tan; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)