Findings of LNG study released

Report considers infrastructure challenges for fuel delivery to ships

By Michele Witthaus |

The organisers of a major project to investigate the benefits of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in shipping have published its recommendations.

Produced by project coordinators the Danish Maritime Authority, with participation by the Trans-European Transport Network, Scandinavian countries and several energy companies, ‘A feasibility study for an LNG filling station infrastructure and test of recommendations’ concludes that LNG is a climate- and environment-friendly fuel that can be made commercially competitive through effective infrastructure and good framework conditions.

The main purpose of the project was to make recommendations for the best way to establish an infrastructure facilitating the use of LNG to fuel ships. The report’s findings concentrate on five main areas: bunkering of ships with LNG, economic and financial conditions, safety, technical and operational conditions, and permits for shore-based infrastructure.

From 2015, only fuel oil with a maximum sulphur content of 0.1 per cent will be permitted in the emissions control area covering the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic. In this context, the study considers what LNG can offer in terms of cost and regulatory compliance.

The analyses carried out under the project demonstrate that LNG is a competitive alternative to low-sulphur fuels. However, the report notes that in practice, this will depend on the creation of an effective infrastructure for the distribution of fuel through a network of ships and lorries to local terminals or directly to ships. It points out that such an infrastructure will require major investments, with the potential for poor utilisation of capacity in the early stages due to limited demand.

The final conference of the project on 14 June 2012 will feature stakeholder presentations focusing on how to make LNG a competitive fuel for the shipping industry.

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