Shell bunkering unit tops Singapore's list of 2020 marine fuel suppliers

SINGAPORE, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Shell Plc's (RDSa.L) Singapore bunkering unit, Shell Eastern Trading Pte Ltd, moved up a notch to be the top marine fuel supplier in the world's biggest ship refuelling hub in 2020, official data showed, while the overall number of suppliers steadied after years of declines.

Singapore-based Sentek Marine & Trading Pte Ltd dropped one spot to third in 2020, behind Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services Pte Ltd in second place after climbing from fourth in the previous year, the latest data from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore showed.

PetroChina International (S) Pte Ltd, the top supplier by volume in 2019, dropped to fourth place in 2020 followed by BP Singapore Pte Ltd in fifth, the MPA data showed.

The biggest leaps up the MPA's ranking included SK Energy International Pte Ltd which ranked seventh in 2020, up from 15th in the previous year as well as Chevron Singapore Pte Ltd which climbed from 21st to ninth in 2020, the data showed.

The overall number of licensed bunker suppliers steadied at 45 companies in 2020, unchanged from 2019 which marked a sixth year of shrinking supplier numbers amid narrowing profit margins, strict enforcement checks and few new license awards.

New global rules that forced shippers to switch to new and cleaner fuels has helped reshape the bunkering market, favouring larger suppliers with integrated supply chains and better access to capital, trade sources said.

International Maritime Organization rules have capped the sulphur content of ship fuel at 0.5% from the start of 2020 unless vessels are equipped with exhaust-cleaning systems known as scrubbers.

Trafigura's TFG Marine and Mercuria's Minerva Bunkering, the first to issued new bunkering licenses in April by the port authority since 2017, ranked 16th and 22nd, respectively, in their debut year, according to the MPA's ranking.

However, the licence of Ocean Bunkering Services Pte Ltd (OBS), a subsidiary of defunct oil trader Hin Leong, remained suspended since around October, according to the MPA rankings, after it failed to meet licensing requirements.

Sales of marine fuels in Singapore climbed to a three-year high in 2020, supported by resilient December volumes and bucking a weaker global trend as the coronavirus pandemic suppressed demand, official data showed.

The city state accounts about 20% of global bunkering sales.

Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh; Editing by Rashmi Aich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.