GAS RISING By John R. Snyder, Publisher & Editor in Chief
As LNG bunkering infrastructure grows and global sulfur cap looms closer, more operators could opt for natural gas
s the old adage goes, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” Just ask the pollsters and pundits regarding the last Presidential election. So, too, just as recently as five years ago, DNV GL was projecting that as many as 1,000 vessels would be burning Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a fuel by 2020. Now, however, that seems like a double insulated pipe dream based on the current number of LNG-fueled ships in operation and those on order or under construction. Making the future even cloudier is the International Maritime Organization’s global sulfur cap of 0.5%—set to enter into force by 2020. Will there be enough high quality compliant low sulfur fuel available? 18 Marine Log // March 2017
IMO thinks so. Ship operators that burn HFO will need to switch to higher-quality liquid fuels, LNG or use exhaust gas scrubbers to eliminate the SOx. The advantage of running a ship on LNG is that it nearly eliminates all SOx emissions, while reducing greenhouse gases by 5–10% and NOx emissions and particulate matter by 85–90%.
Change in Shipping In a corporate video, Angus Campbell, Corporate Director Energy Projects at Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) points out that the traditionally conservative shipping industry is now beginning to slowly come around to LNG. “[Shipping] is beginning to look for solutions that can actually ease
environmental concerns,” says Campbell. “I think the use of natural gas or liquefied natural gas… is one of the most significant steps the shipping industry can take. I think if the shipping industry adopts LNG in a wholesale way, it will reduce the carbon footprint by about 25%.” As tracked by DNV GL, excluding LNG carriers and inland waterways vessels, there are now 100 LNG-fueled vessels in operation. The classification society reports another 101 LNG-fueled vessels are on order or under construction, with deliveries stretching into 2024. Campbell says BSM has been working with the U.K.’s Babcock International Group on the development of what would be one of the largest LNG bunker vessels to date.