Multi-sector industry coalition SEA\LNG has published a case study explaining the first mover challenges liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering firm Gas4Sea needed to address to develop LNG bunkering services in North West Europe.
Gas4Sea is a partnership between energy firms ENGIE, Mitsubishi Corporation and NYK; the company operates the LNG bunkering vessel ENGIE Zeebrugge.
Topics discussed in the LNG bunkering infrastructure: Gas4Sea’s Engie Zeebrugge LNG bunker vessel study included the design of the bunkering vessel, absence of relevant regulation, the need to create customer confidence, and the lack of understanding in the shipping industry of LNG as a marine fuel.
“From a technical perspective each potential customer ship is different depending on the region and the shipping segment,” it said in a summary of the report discussing vessel design.
“Cruise ships are very different from container and product ships.
“Therefore, in the early stages of market development the bunker vessel must be able to efficiently accommodate many different types of customers.”
In terms of relevant regulation, the study suggested a lack of LNG bunkering technical standards present during July 2014, a period when the bunker vessel contract was signed.
To address these ‘technical’ challenges, the Gas4Sea technical team had to work closely with the Korean Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction shipyard and Bureau Veritas, the class society, being careful to distinguish between the must and nice to have features of the vessel.
The development also meant that Gas4Sea had to work closely with MBZ, the Zeebrugge port authority, ICO the terminal operator, and other related organisations such as the local fire brigade to create a regulatory framework from scratch.
Customer confidence was another hurdle as potential customers need confidence in supply, due to the fact that there is only one LNG bunkering vessel in Zeebrugge.
“The question that needed answering was what happens if the asset fails? Gas4Sea is trying to have a back-up solution to provide customers with the reassurance they need.”
“Finally, LNG, its potential as a marine fuel and its availability is not well understood by the shipping industry.
“Customer education is a high priority for Gas4Sea and a driver for the partners to become members of advocacy organisations such as SEA\LNG.”
The study is available at the link here.
Photo credit: SEA\LNG
Published: 14 May, 2018
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