Red Box on Canada's Arctic regions: Sharing unique experiences for safe & efficient transportation

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Philip Adkins, CEO, Red Box Energy Services
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As reported by Shell in the LNG Outlook 2019, the use of LNG in transport is growing, especially in the heavy-duty transport sector. And with 143 LNG-fuelled ships currently in operation and 135 on order, marine LNG is another exciting area in the market.

Ahead of the Canada Gas & LNG Exhibition and Conference taking place May 21-23 in Vancouver, Gastech Insights spoke with Philip Adkins, CEO of Red Box Energy Services to hear more about the organisations work in the Canadian Arctic.

Gastech Insights: The Canadian Arctic has been said to hold a lot a promise to explore resources. How will RED BOX be involved in Canada’s growing LNG industry?

Philip Adkins: The RED BOX Team was responsible for the safe delivery of over 65% of the LNG Liquefaction Modules for the first three LNG Trains of the Yamal LNG Project. Over the course of 32 voyages above the Arctic Circle from China and Europe to Sabetta, RED BOX demonstrated, for the first time, the value of using the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as a means to shorten the delivery time of high-value modules to the construction site. By capturing this time through optimised marine logistics, RED BOX was able to contribute a time cushion for its client Yamgaz that could be applied to reducing the impact of both fabrication delays as well as installation delays. Consequently, all three trains of Yamal LNG achieved “first gas” on time and on budget. As Canadian opportunities for energy infrastructure investment above the Arctic Circle are evaluated in the future RED BOX will share its unique experiences with Arctic Marine Heavy Transport to its partners in Canada and work with them to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of heavy modules to Canada’s Arctic regions.

Gastech Insights: What impact have climate change initiatives had on LNG shipping routes in the last few years? Will the potential HFO ban in the Arctic affect Canada’s growing industry?

Philip Adkins: It is too early to come to any conclusions about climate change and how it will affect marine logistics. The Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage do offer the possibilities of significant cost savings for both projects related voyages as well as commodity transportation. However, the challenges of operating safely within such a harsh and environmentally sensitive area require significant investment by ship owners and operators in the quality of their fleets and the training and experience of their crews. The Polar Code is a welcome regulatory framework for safeguarding the Arctic from unqualified operators. Whether the Polar Code will need to be enhanced in the coming years will become clearer as marine traffic increases. The HFO Ban is clearly in the best interests of maintaining a pristine environment in the Canadian Arctic. The costs of the ban will eventually be offset by more cost-effective refining of marine fuels as well as possible substitutions like LNG.

Gastech Insights: How have new technologies revolutionised marine transportation solutions? And how do they continue to evolve and grow in the changing energy market?

Philip Adkins: The ability to map ice flows in real time by satellite and the technology to forecast the effects on ship navigation planning has provided Masters with important new tools for the safe and economic transit of vessels above the Arctic Circle. We expect new technologies in communication; weather forecasting and historical ice analysis will accelerate and improve in the coming years.

Gastech Insights: In your opinion, how will LNG as a mainstream fuel for marine transport further develop in the next year?

Philip Adkins: LNG as a mainstream fuel is already being considered as a viable alternative for Containerships. Tri-fuel LNG carriers that can use the daily “boil” of the LNG they are carrying have already become the propulsion system of choice for new build LNG Tankers.

Gastech Insights: Taking place 21-23 May in Vancouver, why should industry players attend Canada Gas & LNG Exhibition and Conference?

Philip Adkins: Vancouver is the hub for any serious discussions of LNG Infrastructure Projects. The Canada Gas & LNG Exhibition and Conference is the premier venue for the industry players to gather, exchange ideas, learn about the ongoing challenges that face us and organise ourselves to meet these challenges effectively. LNG investments are accelerating around the world and Canada has the opportunity to position itself among the leaders of the global LNG market given its strong reputation for corporate governance, technological depth and environmental stewardship.

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Image courtesy of Red Box Energy Services