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Off-spec bio-blends widen pricing spread

  • Market: Biofuels, Oil products
  • 15/02/24

The range of prices for marine biodiesel blends in Europe has widened as cheaper product that does not meet the region's road diesel engine specifications — as defined by the European EN14214 standard — gains market share.

Indicated values and fixed deals in Rotterdam for delivered bunker fuel made of pure biodiesel (B100) from advanced feedstocks — defined by Annex IX Part A of the EU's recast Renewable Energy Directive — were broadly reported at $897-1,000/t between 26 January and 7 February. But some suppliers quoted prices as high as $300/t higher for B100 blends meeting the EN14214 standard.

Argus assessed the calculated B100 advanced Fame 0°C CFPP dob ARA range price at an average of $1,127.95/t over the same period, with the price standing at $1143.36/t on 13 February. The calculated dob ARA range price incorporates a deduction for HBE-Gs, which are used by companies that bring liquid or gaseous fossil fuels into general circulation and are obligated to pay excise duty or energy tax on fuels, but it is also based on assessments for EN14214 standard biodiesel.

Shipowners may be tempted to burn cheaper fuels, but doing so could prove to be risky. Original equipment manufacturers of ship engines such as MAN and Wartsilla currently licence their engines to utilise and combust fuels that are in line with current ISO specification list, ISO8217:2017.

According to MAN service letters, biodiesel properties should meet either EN14214 or ASTM D6751 standards in order to be used for their engines. This means that shipowners using fuels that do not meet these standards are at risk of potentially voiding their warranty or insurance cover in the case of any damage to engines caused by off-spec fuels.

However, some market participants said shipowners can obtain a green light from their insurance provider by providing a specification sheet ahead of bunkering.

ISO is currently developing a new specification standard, ISO 8217:2024, which many market participants expect to broaden the coverage of alternative marine fuels and potentially establish a standard that is more flexible and applicable to the maritime sector. MAN said if a biodiesel standard is established in a new ISO 8217 edition, it will recommend following this version.


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