LNG is increasingly seen as the next generation of marine fuel. As the reality of emissions control areas looms on the horizon, there is increasing investment across the US to develop LNG infrastructure as well as dual fuel and LNG ready ships.
As the natural gas boom floods North America with cheap and accessible LNG, the gas industry has seen the huge opportunity in supplying a new sector with fuel whilst shippers, especially those operating within the ECAs, are realizing the huge cost savings they could achieve from a conversion to LNG.
Harvey Gulf has recently announced that they now intend to order a sixth LNG powered offshore service vessel with anticipated savings of $2.4 million per year for the life of each ship. They are not alone; British Columbia Ferries and Washington State Ferries are both moving forward at a considerable pace with proposals to convert their fleets to LNG.
Mark Barker of Interlake, a company that recently signed a deal with shell to examine LNG supply for their vessels, commented that, "This move (to LNG as a marine fuel) takes our dedication to environmental stewardship to the next level. Operating on LNG would further reduce our vessels’ environmental impacts”. So the coincidence of interests between being a responsible business and an efficient business could clearly not be better timed.
And yet, challenges remain across the USA. A plentiful and reliable supply of LNG is a concern for shipping companies whilst the capital investment required is substantial and will only realize a significant cost saving in the long run. And of course infrastructure needs to be cohesively developed at strategic locations across the USA.
The LNG for Marine Transportation Conference in Houston is set to be the hub for addressing these industry challenges. With over 120 industry professionals already in attendance including Shell, Chevron, AGL resources and other gas giants plus the key infrastructure developers and OEMs, the event is set strengthen and create partnerships throughout the industry.
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