Shenzhen Lays Plans for Large-Scale LNG Bunkering Center

Yantian Port (file image courtesy Gigel Atat / CC BY 4.0)

Published Jun 15, 2020 12:27 AM by The Maritime Executive

The port of Yantian, a hub for LNG imports in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Shenzhen area, will soon build out the infrastructure for large-scale LNG bunkering operations.

In an agreement with the Yantian District Government, CNPC division PetroChina and Shenzhen Gas Group, the Yantian Port Group will build a 230,000 tonne-per-year bunkering facility, the Shenzhen International LNG Marine Fueling Center. It will be the first of its kind in the country. Over the long term, the partners hope to expand it to two million tonnes per year and $1.4 billion in annual turnover, according to state media.

LNG is increasingly seen as the industry's most viable alternative to petroleum bunker fuel: it has far lower emissions of health-related pollutants like particulate matter and SOx, and its net greenhouse gas emissions are somewhat lower. It is also seen as a potential "bridge" fuel to future low-carbon/no-carbon alternatives like biogas. The number of LNG-powered cargo vessels is on the rise, and will soon include some of the largest ocean-going boxships and tankers. In 2017, CMA CGM ordered a new class of nine LNG-fueled Megamax-24 boxships, and last year Shell agreed to charter ten new LNG-fueled Aframax crude tankers. 

However, fuel availability is still a constraint for oceangoing LNG-powered vessels, and China has relatively few ports with the capability to provide LNG bunkering. Yantian Port hopes that the construction of an LNG hub will solve this problem and help to attract business, along with enhancing the port's image as a green operator. China's State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission sees the project as a way for CNPC to build a strategic advantage in LNG refueling and promote the construction of China's LNG bunkering network.