LR: LNG Bunkering Likely to Develop Fast

Lloyd’s Register analysis of ports provides insight into the future of LNG bunkering world-wide as short sea demand grows and the possibility of expansion into bunkering for deep sea emerges.

Lloyd’s Register’s LNG Bunkering Infrastructural Survey 2014 indicates that major ports around the world are either planning for, or are anticipating, the wide-scale development of LNG bunkering. 22 ports were assessed in the analysis with 18 key questions addressed.

This latest analysis builds on the Lloyd’s Register LNG bunkering Infrastructure Study completed in 2011. Shipowner demand, unsurprisingly, remains the biggest driver from the ports’ perspective but availability of LNG infrastructure has risen from being considered a low priority to the second most important driver after demand. Pricing is third. Most ports surveyed are in the North American and European emission Control Areas (ECAs).

Key findings

• 59% of ports surveyed have specific plans for LNG bunkering infrastructure;

• Lack of in-port infrastructure will not hamper LNG bunker delivery plans;

• 76% of the ports believe that LNG bunkering operations will commence at their port within 5 years;

• By 2020 key European ports will be able to support deep sea bunkering operations;

• 73% of ports say that LNG will be supplied by existing onshore LNG terminals;

• In the short term, ports will rely on third party specialist suppliers to supply gas from terminals to ship – mainly by either truck or bunker barge;

• In the longer term, 47% of ports will have dedicated LNG storage capability for bunkering. One port is considering the use of floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs);

• By 2020/2025, ports expect that 13%/24% of bunkers supplied will be LNG;

• 86% of the ports surveyed indicate that it is either likely (54%) or very likely (32%) that demand for LNG will be from deep sea ships within a 3-10 year time horizon;

• No significant change in bunker delivery methods is anticipated – for example, if HFO bunkers are being supplied by barge today it is expected that LNG will be delivered by barge in future;

• There is clear awareness that port and land safety issues need to be harmonised;

• Economics (32%) and availability (20%) are the two biggest factors in the development of a gas market;

• The report indicates that societal concerns about LNG as a future fuel are falling.

Latifat Ajala, Lloyd’s Register’s Senior Market Analyst comments, “Global ports are gearing up for a gas fuelled future for shipping. Now we can clearly see that the development of bunkering capability is going to be a vital driver for take up of LNG by deep sea shipping. Traditional bunkering ports will need to be able to offer gas just as they offer the traditional choice of fuel oil or distillates today. Most LNG fuelled projects seen so far are very short haul, point to point trades where the operator can secure and control gas supply regardless of the global bunkering markets inability to supply LNG. But gas can only really take off if supply is more like orthodox bunkering arrangements. Real expansion requires infrastructure and delivery capability. It is clear that ports are planning to develop the infrastructure and capability.

Luis Benito, LR’s Global Marketing Manager says the LR survey shows ports are getting ready for gas. “Ports want to be gas capable – and they are planning for a gas fuelled future. It seems the obvious challenge is availability at a competitive price. Will gas markets provide fuel that shipowners will buy? We believe that ports can make LNG available safely – but at what price? That’s what everybody wants to know.”

Press Release, April 7, 2014; Image: Port of Zeebrugge

 

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