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Interest grows in LNG

As pressure on the industry to cut polluting emissions increases, more owners are considering going for gas

While the number of LNG fuelled ships remains small, many owners appear to be giving this option serious consideration. This was demonstrated recently by a good turnout when ABS partnered with industry stakeholders Wärtsilä, Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD), GTT, Shell & Gard to host a joint conference exploring the technical and operational challenges of LNG as a marine fuel.

SEA\LNG points out that LNG is readily available in bulk at circa 150 locations worldwide, and there is a huge bulk LNG infrastructure of regasification terminals and liquefaction plants globally. Of the world’s top oil-bunkering ports, nine of the top ten offer LNG bunkering, or will do so by 2020. However, the organisation notes, it is the movement of LNG from bulk facilities to the ships, more commonly known as the ‘last mile’, where efforts are being concentrated to enable easy access to LNG as a marine fuel.


“LNG as a fuel is already transforming the shipping industry and will continue to expand further as shipowners and operators look to comply with the latest environmental requirements,” said ABS Global Ship Systems Center Director, Elias Kariambas. “The attendees heard directly from our event partners on the development of new LNG-fuelled projects and related technologies. Forums like this help drive industry dialogue and provide a vital platform to share experiences and discuss evolving technology.”


“Given the environmental superiority and commercial attractiveness of LNG as a fuel, it is with no doubt that LNG will capture the merchant marine business,” said WinGD’s senior project Manager, Marcel Ott.


GTT LNG as Fuel Vice President, Julien Bec said: “We are committed to develop reliable and cleaner solutions that answer the owners’ requirements. This seminar was the occasion to exchange with the industry, to build the shipping of tomorrow together.”


Arista Shipping Technical Manager, Antonis Trakakis said: “LNG as fuel has the most extensive service record among all other options for compliance, and, apart from meeting all environmental regulations, it clearly brings a substantial cost benefit which justifies the investment.”


Shipowners and shipping managers were among 200 international delegates attending at the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre on March 15. The seminar presenters discussed the latest thinking on a range of key LNG issues, including technology for dual fuelled ships, the regulatory framework and first hand operational experience of LNG-fuelled vessels.


Arista Shipping and WinGD presented insights before Sovcomflot, Carnival, Shell, Wärtsilä and Arista joined ABS at the Athens event in a round table on the prospects for LNG as a fuel for vessels. The forum included an update on Project Forward, which is promoting adoption of LNG as a marine fuel with a fully LNG-powered deep sea dry

bulk carrier.


Meanwhile SEA\LNG, a multi-sector industry coalition aiming to accelerate the widespread adoption of LNG has launched a new free-to-access online tool to improve understanding of the current, and rapidly evolving, LNG bunkering infrastructure landscape.


The new Bunker Navigator Tool utilises member, marine information services, and publicly available data to provide easy access to the latest developments in the global LNG bunkering infrastructure. SEA\LNG’s map-based tool provides an overview of key LNG bunkering developments and how this growing infrastructure relates to major global shipping routes, traditional oil bunkering ports, and the bulk LNG infrastructure which will provide the foundation for future bunkering services.


Peter Keller, SEA\LNG chairman and executive vice president, said: “The coalition’s mission since inception has been to further the shipping industry’s knowledge of the viability and sustainability of LNG as a marine fuel. A key barrier has been a general lack of understanding of current and forthcoming LNG bunkering infrastructure. What we sought to achieve with the Bunker Navigator Tool is a quick, easy-to-access platform that includes relevant, up-to-date, and free-to-access information on LNG infrastructure and

bunker development.”

 As well as an overview of key LNG bunkering developments, the map-based tool enables access to case studies which describe the bunkering projects being developed by SEA\LNG members at specific locations, with more added as they become available.


SEA\LNG makes the case that, by addressing the core compliance issue for owners – the fuel their vessels are burning – LNG provides a viable solution for the long term. LNG emits zero SOx, virtually zero particulate matter, and – depending on the technology used – 90% fewer NOx emissions. It adds that LNG’s greenhouse gas (GHG) performance “represents a major step forward when compared with traditional marine fuels. Utilising best practices and appropriate technologies can result in realistic reductions of GHG by about 20%”.


Keller concluded: “A collaborative approach to understanding the opportunities – and then tackling the associated commercial barriers – to LNG is crucial to fulfil its potential as an alternative to traditional bunker fuels. The reality is that LNG bunkering infrastructure is expanding at pace, and with the launch of the Bunker Navigator Tool, SEA\LNG hopes to raise awareness of, and build industry confidence in, the rapidly growing global availability of LNG bunkering.”


In a new initiative to bridge that ‘last mile’ “K” Line, Chubu Electric, Toyota Tsusho, and NYK Line  have entered into joint discussions on supplying LNG as a marine fuel to ships in central Japan. A statement says: “The four companies will jointly discuss specific LNG customers and supply methods in preparation for the commercialization of LNG bunkering business.”


Meanwhile SCF Group (PAO Sovcomflot) has signed time-charter agreements with Shell for two dual-fuelled aframax tankers. The vessels are part of a series of six SCF Group tankers currently under construction and due for delivery between Q3 2018 and Q1 2019. The two tankers will be on time charter to Shell for up to 10 years, with a minimum commitment of five years. The vessels will also use Shell’s specialised LNG bunker vessels, such as the Cardissa, for fuelling in North West Europe. Shell will provide further supply points across North West Europe and the Baltic as it expands its LNG fuelling infrastructure.



Boost for LNG at Gothenburg

Construction of an LNG facility is under way at the Port of Gothenburg. At present Skangas is supplying vessels with LNG using ship-to-ship bunkering. Swedegas, which owns and runs the Swedish gas transmission network, is set to expand the number of LNG options at the port with the construction of a facility that will enable LNG bunkering while vessels are loading and discharging at Gothenburg’s Energy Port.


“With both Skangas and Swedegas operating at the Port of Gothenburg, we have two companies that complement each other with different offerings. Shipping lines now have a further incentive to consider switching to LNG,” said Jill Söderwall, Vice President and Head of Commercial Operations at the Port of Gothenburg

Energy Port.

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