Energy heavyweights launch new initiative to promote LNG-based marine fuel

Industry giants such as GE Marine, Mitsubishi Corporation and Shell have launched a new cross-industry initiative to accelerate the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel.

Other coalition members of SEALNG are the Port of Rotterdam, Carnival Corporation & plc, DNV GL, ENGIE, ENN, GTT, Lloyd’s Register, NYK Line, Qatargas, TOTE Inc and Wärtsilä.

Peter Keller, chairman of SEALNG and Executive Vice President of TOTE Inc, said: “We recognise the need to work closely with key players across the value chain, including shipping companies, classification societies, ports, major LNG suppliers, downstream companies, infrastructure providers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to ensure an understanding of the environmental and performance benefits of LNG as a marine transport fuel. SEALNG aims to address market barriers and help transform the use of LNG as a marine fuel into a global reality.”

More than 90% of global trade moves by sea and this trade is expected to increase substantially over the coming years. In terms of tonne miles, shipping is the world’s cleanest form of transport, but the volumes moved are so large that shipping is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas, sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides emissions.

Tackling climate change

The emissions reduction requirements that have come into force around the world to respond to this challenge are increasing demand for LNG as a shipping fuel.

According to the coalition, LNG offers notable environmental advantages over heavy fuel oil, the main fuel used in shipping today, significantly reducing sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions, and also contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. LNG is therefore able to offer a fuel solution compliant with both current and anticipated future regulations.

However, while LNG is a competitive fuel relative to current alternatives, LNG infrastructure is needed in ports around the world to enable quick, safe and cost effective bunkering. In parallel, there remains a price premium for LNG-fuelled vessels which can make investment decisions challenging. Furthermore, regulation is not yet globally consistent, which constrains incentives for investment in the sector. SEALNG aims to address and help overcome these and other challenges.

Philip Olivier, CEO of ENGIE Global LNG, said: “Everybody is calling for alternatives to reduce environmental impacts. That’s why we have joined forces to actively promote LNG as a key fuel in maritime transport. LNG has the potential to take a 10% market share of global bunker demand by 2030. ENGIE will contribute to achieving this target”.

Lauran Wetemans, Shell’s general manager Downstream LNG, added: “This new cross-industry initiative is good news. To make the transition to LNG as a fuel happen it needs close collaboration with key players across the full value chain. SEA/LNG aims to promote the benefits and potential of LNG fuel, and create a level playing field for LNG with other fuels. It will complement the work being done by other organisations like the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel.”

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