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Glencore, PetroChina named as contaminated fuel suppliers

Singapore fuel said to have contained 15,000 ppm of chlorinated organic compounds.

The refuelling of the Stolt Virtue at Stolthaven's facility in Jurong Island, Singapore, on January 30, 2018. Image credit: Stolthaven Terminals

Updated on 14 Apr 2022 10:55 GMT

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has disclosed the preliminary findings of its investigation into the alleged supply of high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) containing high concentration levels of chlorinated organic compounds (COC) — 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PERC) — in the port of Singapore.

The port authority notes that it was informed on March 14 that a number of ships had been supplied with HSFO containing excessive amounts of COC and that its initial investigations revealed that the affected fuel – a blended product — was supplied by Glencore.

The bunker supplier is said to have informed the MPA that on receiving reports of its fuel being contaminated, it proceeded to test fuel batches procured from sources and used in its blended product, and discovered that one obtained from overseas had contained around 15,000 ppm of COC.

By the time testing was carried out, Glencore had already sold part of the affected fuel to PetroChina, which in turn had delivered to ships in Singapore, the MPA said.

Glencore and PetroChina are estimated to have supplied the contaminated product to approximately 200 vessels in Singapore. Of these, roughly 80 have reported various issues with their fuel pumps and engines.

The MPA noted that it had conducted fuel tests for some of the affected ships and found elevated levels of COC in their samples. It is the first case of fuel contamination due to high concentration levels of COC reported in Singapore over the past two decades.

The MPA added that it is in discussions with the industry on implementing additional fuel quality checks that would screen for unacceptable chemicals and that it intends to submit a paper on the fuel contamination incident to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

As previously reported, both Glencore and PetroChina were listed amongst the top 10 suppliers by volume delivered in Singapore last year, with Glencore maintaining sixth place and PetroChina rising three positions to top the supplier list.

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