ABS Leads in LNG Fuel Development in North America, Says COO

Jim Watson, President and COO of the ABS Americas Division, told participants at Marine Log’s Ferries 2013 conference on Monday, 4 November, that LNG is changing the landscape of the marine industry and that the role of class societies must expand to help industry move safely into challenging new areas.

In his keynote address, Watson explained that safe and speedy progress will be contingent upon the ability of individual entities to work together. “The unique operational, regulatory and safety concerns that exist within the US require a great deal of cooperation between regulators and industry stakeholders,” he said. “We must find the right balance of safety and operational performance to meet our national needs. At the center of this process, time and again, is ABS.”

Recognizing industry trends and assessing evolving needs are among the organization’s core strengths, Watson said, noting that the increased focus on gas was the catalyst for forming the ABS Global Gas Solutions team, organized in August of this year.

Through this team’s efforts, ABS once again is at the center of the process of finding solutions. The team, Watson said, “is undertaking a wide-ranging initiative to help vessel owners decide if LNG as a fuel is the right choice” by examining operational challenges, bunkering requirements and safety considerations for specific vessels. The work scope for this project is broad and includes assessing infrastructure needs and availability, defining training requirements, developing feasibility study criteria and carrying out economic modeling.

This internally funded initiative will critically examine the infrastructure needs in the US and Canada to support LNG as a fuel as well as other key safety and operational factors that could impact the acceptance of LNG as fuel.

The end goal, Watson explained, is for ABS to produce a comprehensive tool for decision makers in every segment of any project that involves LNG as fuel. By working with industry partners such as Harvey Gulf, NASSCO and the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel, ABS is taking the lead in progressing LNG as fuel in North America.

Watson concluded his remarks on LNG as fuel with an invitation. “We welcome interested stakeholders to participate in the study,” he said.

LNG World News Staff, November 08, 2013; Image: ABS

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