The liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered vessel and bunkering sector at China is well organised and rapidly developing, show China Classification Society (CCS) data presented at the Singapore-held 4th LNG Marine Fuel Forum.
As of June 2018, there were 280 LNG-fuelled vessels in operation within China; the total figure comprised of 163 LNG-powered newbuildings, 70 vessels which engines were replaced to use LNG as fuel, and 47 ships with retrofitted engine components to use the gas as bunkers.
A CCS spokesman further shared that a LNG bunkering vessel is currently under construction at an unnamed Chinese yard, with plans for one more, in the works.
There are also 10 onshore LNG bunkering terminals currently being constructed. However, no further details were given for the LNG bunkering vessels and bunkering terminals.
Meanwhile, nine LNG bunkering pontoons have been constructed in China, of which two are currently in operation.
“The first LNG bunkering pontoon Haigangxing No. 1 was delivered in 2013 while Haigangxing No. 2, a pontoon for bunkering oil and LNG, was delivered in December 2016,” he said.
Details of Haigangxing No. 1 are as follows:
|Tank type||Type C|
|Tank volume||250m3 x 2|
|Bunkering capacity||34m3 per hour|
|Delivery date||September 2013|
“The China government is determined to improve the national air quality and has implemented the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan from 2013,” explains the CCS spokesman.
“One important part of this plan is to accelerate clean energy utilisation, including the use of natural gas.”
2013 data from the China Ministry of Environmental Protection show ships accounting for 8.4% of total domestic sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions and 11.3% of total domestic nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in the country, with coastal cities being most effected by air pollution from vessels.
In the similar year, Shanghai encountered 39,255 metric tonnes (mt) of SOx emissions and 43,901 mt of NOx emissions from ships; accounting for 14.2% of regional emissions.
The same period also saw Shenzhen recording 16,300 mt of SOx emissions and 19,254 mt of NOx emissions; accounting for 14.1% of regional emissions.
The environmental findings have led the Chinese government to offer grants and implement three domestic emission control areas (ECAs), located in the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, and Bohai Rim region, to control air pollution from vessels.
Moving forward, the CCS spokesman highlighted several challenges for LNG bunkering to become more popular at China.
He notes the Chinese shipping industry will need to overcome a lack of confidence in using LNG as bunker fuel, due to the lack of core LNG technologies and key products for LNG bunkering and insufficient LNG bunkering infrastructure.
Policy barriers such as a limitation on inland waterway LNG transportation activities, a ban on LNG ship-to-ship transfer operations in port areas, and a limitation for LNG-fuelled vessels in passing ship locks, will need to be revaluated.
CCS lately shared an industry update with Manifold Times regarding emission control changes at Shanghai ports, Yangtze River Delta, and Zhejiang Province effective 1 October, 2018.
China’s Ministry of Transport in August issued a letter to various commercial entitles and state-owned energy players to ask for feedback in regards to a draft national LNG bunkering strategy.
Photo credit: China Classification Society
Published: 6 September, 2018
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