Rotterdam: It’s less than a year since Norwegian classification society DNV offloaded its fuel-testing subsidiary, DNVPS, to private equity (PE). Eight days ago the spun off entity unveiled its new corporate identity. Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) was launched to much fanfare, its teal blue logo seen across global shipping.
Eirik Andreassen, ceo of VPS, notes how VPS is changing under its new PE owners.
“A PE owner has much more demanding reporting requirements, and this has also led to a much better internal understanding of our business model and our value creation model,” he says.
Under Andreassen, headquarters have just shifted from Singapore to Rotterdam to better reach all parts of the organisation on a daily basis from one location.
“I will still be very much visible in Singapore and Asia, but with the opportunity to spend more in the Americas than time and distance has permitted until now,” Andreassen says.
On fuel quality concerns, Andreassen has much to say.
Specifications on gas oils for inland use are getting stricter than for marine. Some refinery streams such as cycle oils that were traditionally blended into automotive diesels cannot be used any longer or are only used in small quantities.
“The marine market is an obvious alternative disposal route for these materials as ISO 8217 does not restrict aromatics and has less stringent limits on ignition quality,” he says.
Due to the statutory requirements and the extraordinary demand, fuels from the automotive sector, that normally contain up to 7% FAME, will be used as marine fuels with the well-known challenges related to their long term storage issues.
When it comes to their cold flow properties – including pour point and cold filter plugging point, VPS sees more and more examples where although the poor point is within specification, there are operational problems due to wax blocking the filters.
Microbiological contamination of distillate fuels is always possible when water is present, Andreassen explains. A slimy grey/brownish sludge found in the fuel system may indicate that the system is contaminated with microbes.
Another major topic taking up much of VPS’s time is answering shipowner questions about mass flow metering.
“A surveyor is still needed for the verification of the flowmeter reading and control of sampling,” Andreassen insists, adding: “As a prudent measure, the buyer should always have a surveyor onboard to take the opening manual measurement of the bunker tanker for the verification of the flowmeter reading.”
Currently, VPS is experiencing an increase in both bunker quantity surveys and investigative surveys because of the need to accurately account for the bunkers replenished and the bunkers already onboard. [23/07/14]