Australia Embraces LNG as Marine Fuel


Published Aug 1, 2016 5:00 AM by The Maritime Executive

In an Australian first, EVOL LNG has been approved by Fremantle Ports to bunker LNG, providing access to the cleaner shipping fuel alternative for LNG-powered marine vessels visiting Fremantle Port.

The availability of LNG as a bunker fuel, which will be delivered from EVOL LNG’s Kwinana LNG plant, will pave the way for LNG-fuelled ships to visit the port, and provide the option for local ferries and workboats to switch to the lower-cost, lower-emission fuel.

It will also see Fremantle Port become part of a growing global LNG bunkering network which includes major ports in Europe, North America, Qatar, Singapore, Japan and Korea as well as more than 40 other ports from around the world which bunker LNG, or have plans to do so.

EVOL LNG’s Business Manager, Nick Rea, said he was confident that global fleet of LNG-fuelled ships would continue to grow, and that EVOL LNG was well placed to support the growth.

“Our decision to provide LNG bunkering to the shipping industry is based on a long-term strategy,” Rea said. “Over the past decade, we’ve seen the number of LNG-fuelled ships in operation worldwide increase steadily from a handful to more than 70, with an additional 80 to be built in coming years.

“As emission reduction efforts continue to increase in importance, including in Australia, we expect the adoption of LNG as a low emission marine fuel to increase. Apart from the environmental benefits, we expect to see a widening gap in the fuel price spread, as well as the cost of LNG-fuelled ships reducing as the technology matures. The business case for ship owners to invest in LNG-fuelled ships is becoming more and more compelling.”

EVOL LNG will be able to supply its customers with LNG at a price that is competitive with low-sulfur marine diesel, it says, and will be able to refuel ships at up to 45 tons per hour of LNG, which is comparable to refuelling with traditional bunker fuels.

“We’re looking forward to working with Fremantle Ports and believe it is well-placed to support future LNG-fuelled workboats servicing Fremantle, the offshore oil and gas fields in the north west of Western Australia, as well as itinerant LNG-fuelled vessels travelling between Australia and south-east Asia,” Rea said.

“If interest is there, EVOL LNG will obtain licenses from other major Australian and regional Western Australian ports to conduct LNG bunkering operations. It’s certainly an offering we’d like to expand, particularly as truck-to-ship LNG bunkering can be achieved without the need for new fixed infrastructure to be built.”

The news comes after the announcement in April that Woodside and Siem Offshore Australia, using Wärtsilä design, dual fuel engines, will be launching their first LNG fuelled offshore support vessel in 2017.

Additionally, SeaRoad Shipping will launch the LNG fuelled vessel Searoad Mersey II later this year. It is expected to enter six-days-a-week overnight Bass Strait service between Devonport and Melbourne in December and has been at the forefront of LNG as marine fuel technology in Australia.