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Methane Slip Initiative Expands With Seven New Shipowners

Maran Gas Apollona
File image courtesy Maran Gas

Published Mar 16, 2023 2:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

A newly-formed initiative to measure and address methane emissions from LNG shipping has added seven new names to its roster of supporters. 

The Methane Abatement in Maritime Innovation Initiative (MAM) launched in September with a mission to measure and manage methane emissions from shipping, with a focus on technological solutions. Dual-fuel LNG propulsion is an increasingly popular choice for newbuilds, and the number of LNG-fueled vessels in the fleet has increased by 20-40 percent each year since 2010. While LNG's health-related emissions profile is excellent  - it dramatically reduces NOx, SOx and PM - and it also reduces CO2 emissions, these benefits are offset by methane leakage during  natural gas production, transport, liquefaction and shipboard combustion. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a warming potential up to 36 times higher than CO2 over the course of a century (and up to 87 times higher over 20 years), according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

Under the leadership of LR's Safetytech Accelerator, a group of leading shipping firms have partnered up to find and test new technologies to monitor and abate methane slip, the traces of unburned natural gas emitted from the stacks of LNG-fueled vessels. Methane slip is one of several sources of emissions associated with methane-fueled shipping, alongside well-to-tank emissions from natural gas production and liquefaction, but assessments of the extent vary between industry and independent reviewers. Initial at-sea measurements suggest that engine design and engine operating load may have a substantial impact on each ship's unique emissions profile, making generalization difficult - and increasing the need for more real-world data. 

According to MAM, there are currently no globally recognized methods for measuring methane slip, contributing to a shortage of available data and tools for analysis. The project will include an initial focus on measurement, helping contribute to the industry's understanding and ability to manage this source of emissions.

Founding partners of MAM include some of the most prominent LNG vessel operators and LNG-fuel proponents, incuding LNG carrier owners Maran Gas Maritime and Knutsen, LNG-fueled ship owners Mediterranean Shipping Company, Carnival Corporation and Seaspan Corporation, and leading LNG producer Shell. This week, the initiative announced the addition of seven more LNG shipowners - CoolCo, United Overseas Management, Capital Gas, Celsius Tankers, Global Meridian Holdings, MOL, and TMS Cardiff Gas.

“We are looking forward to the next few months when we move from analysis and research into piloting new methane measurement technology on ships. Measuring actual emissions is a critical step in the decarbonization of the shipping journey," said Steve Price, head of partnerships at SafetyTech Accelerator.