In light of the upcoming APAC LNG Forum, which will discuss key topics around the theme “Fuelling ahead with small-mid LNG, an economical solution”, Gastech News talked with James Brown, Regional LNG and Gas Consulting Manager at DNV GL, about the latest trends and issues affecting the Asian LNG bunkering market today.
Gastech News: What are the main issues that need to be addressed to maximise LNG bunkering in Southeast Asia?
James Brown: LNG bunkering has gained a lot of attention recently in South East Asia, especially in Singapore where the port authority announced that we would be ready for LNG bunkering by 2020. Key issues include a lack of LNG fuelled vessels in the region, little collaboration between key stakeholders across the LNG value chain (LNG suppliers, ship owners, equipment owners, financiers and government authorities) and the need for a regulatory framework to handle LNG bunkering. In Singapore, a pilot programme has been initiated to develop the operational protocols by 2017 including bunkering procedures, LNG specifications and measurement requirements, safety distances, training and competence requirements. Other authorities should to consider something similar if they wish to develop this industry.
Gastech News: What can be done to develop LNG bunkering infrastructure in the region?
James Brown: LNG bunkering from road tankers and ISO tanks to tugs and harbour craft are a popular starting point to test the concept with minimal CAPEX required. Tank-to-ship and ship-to-ship transfers can then be achieved at a later stage. However, it is difficult to justify investment in the infrastructure without some guarantees of demand from LNG fuelled ships. Likewise, investment in ships is unlikely without the LNG supply at reasonable prices and without sufficient flexibility. Hence regulatory support and incentives from government agencies are required. DNV GL is supporting a number of projects and we are positive that LNG bunkering will be a growth area over the coming years.
Gastech News: How do you see the Asian LNG bunkering market vs. the European market?
James Brown: Currently, all the LNG bunkering ports are located in Europe and USA except for two small LNG truck bunkering terminals in Korea and China. The bunkering ports in Europe primarily support local demand arising from regional trade due to the environmental regulations. There are no such environmental restrictions on shipping fuels in Asia at present other than in Hong Kong where new rules requiring ships at berth to use low-sulphur fuels were recently announced. Hence, the future Asian LNG bunkering ports will be most probably serve international customers with the trading pattern across the globe.
James Brown from DNV GL will be speaking during the session "Offshore small-mid LNG transportation solution - LNG barge/tankers" at the 4th Annual Asia Pacific Small & Mid-Scale LNG Forum. To join him and over 120 industry pioneers, click the banner below.
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