French majors team up on LNG bunkering initiative

French majors team up on LNG bunkering initiative
Image courtesy of Dunkerque LNG

French companies have joined forces, creating a platform promoting LNG as fuel for the maritime industry. 

The move, initiated by the Association Française du Gaz (French Gas Association) follows an inter-ministerial motion to deploy of alternative fuel infrastructures into French law.

AFG proposed a creation of a French LNG platform similar to the already existing initiatives in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

In addition to the AFG, the platform’s six other founding members are, Dunkerque LNG, Total, the Port of Dunkirk, Engie, Gas Natural Fenosa’s French unit and GTT.

It also includes about 20 associate members including Brittany Ferries, Armateurs de France, Comités des Armateurs Fluviaux, the French Maritime Cluster, Chart, Bureau Veritas, Union des Ports français, GICAN, CFT, DNV GL, Compagnie du Ponant.

“The creation of this inter-branch platform dedicated to promoting the use of LNG fuel will help launch a new industrial and logistical dynamic in France,” Jérôme Ferrier, chairman of the AFG said.

The overall goal of the platform is to enable the emergence of an LNG refuelling supply chain in France and to create the conditions required for improved LNG competitiveness.

The platform aims to promote environmental qualitties of LNG as fuel, to engage the political decision-makers and to encourage the development of professional regulations to facilitate the use of LNG for bunkering in maritime and river ports, in compliance with all safety rules.

Dunkerque LNG, the unit of EDF operating the country’s fourth LNG import terminal, in cooperation with Grand Port Maritime de Dunkerque is currently developing or studying a number of projects.

The two companies are looking to build an onshore refuelling station for tank trucks at the LNG terminal site. These tank trucks will be used to supply LNG service stations, and also to directly supply tankers. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2017 and the first commercial operations are expected in 2019.

At the same time, teams at the Dunkirk LNG terminal are working on adapting the jetty to accommodate bunker tankers of 5,000 cubic meters and more, and are considering the construction of a dedicated jetty, depending on the development of the market.

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