Study brings LNG-fuelled ships closer

A joint industry project (JIP) to be managed by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) will see Woodside Energy and eight other key members of the Australian maritime, port and energy sectors embark on a four-month study into LNG bunkering.
In a press release, DNV stated that the intention of the JIP – which also involves the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, BOC Limited (Linde Group), Farstad Shipping, Ports Australia, Rolls-Royce Marine AS, SVITZER Australia, Swire Pacific Offshore Operations and Teekay Shipping (Australia) – was to facilitate the adoption of LNG-fuelled vessels in Australian waters.
The JIP is being sponsored by the 10 participants. “Using LNG as marine fuel eliminates SOx [sulphur oxide] and particulate matter emissions; nets a 15 per cent reduction in GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions; and diminishes [those] of NOx [nitrogen oxides] by 85 to 90 per cent,” DNV stated.
“This addresses both local and global pollution issues.” The aim of the study is to determine the infrastructure and regulatory requirements as well as the potential benefits and risks faced by energy companies, ports and ship owners considering LNG bunkering.
DNV explained that the study would concentrate on LNG-fuelled offshore support vessels and tugs plying Australian waters, especially those in the ports of Dampier in WA, Darwin and Melbourne, but added that the key recommendations developed would be valid for most ship types.
“Key obstacles in promoting LNG-fuelled ships will be identified, with an initial consideration of adequate infrastructure and existing regulations; which in Australia is complicated by the diverse state-based legislative schemes,” DNV stated.
“Safety is of utmost importance for such a development, and ports will face the challenge of offering safe storage and ship-specific bunkering of LNG. These challenges will also be incorporated in the study.”
Established in Norway, DNV is an independent foundation that operates with the purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment.
The JIP is set to deliver a gap analysis, and a map of legal and infrastructural challenges and opportunities, by the end of this year. The project will also produce internal and external reports covering key areas for improvement as well as recommendations on the direction and steps to be taken in the LNG fuel domain for the benefit of the Australian maritime industry.
The launch of the JIP leverages off a growing interest in using LNG as a marine fuel in the Pacific region. DNV Clean Technology Centre (CTC) managing director Dr Sanjay Kuttan outlined the vision behind the initiative.
“The convergence of availability of gas, innovative technologies, progressive regulatory measures and visionary leadership will make LNG a major cleaner energy source for power generation, land and sea transportation, petrochemical feedstock and domestic gas a reality in the near future,” Dr Kuttan said.
The additional capital expenditure associated with an LNG-fuelled vessel can be justified during its life span through returns prompted by lower fuel consumption, reduced maintenance requirements and cheaper fuel, as the price of LNG is expected to remain below the price of oil.
“LNG-fuelled propulsion has been shown to meet the strictest emissions control regulations – such as the global 0.5 per cent sulphur cap to be implemented between 2020 and 2024 – in addition to being technically feasible,” DNV stated.

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