Safe Bunkering for LNG – A Challenge to Global Growth
- LNG bunkering in Europe
- DNV GL Recommends Ways to Make LNG Bunkering Safe and Efficient
- Port of Tallinn Chooses Poyry for LNG Bunkering Study
- Ports of Rotterdam and Gothenburg Promote LNG as Maritime Fuel
- Sweden First Fuelling Vessel for LNG Named in Stockholm
- Teekay USCG January shiptoship
A limiting factor to the increase in the use of LNG fueled ships on a larger scale is the lack of LNG bunkering infrastructure worldwide, with exceptions being northern European countries which have been at the forefront on maritime LNG fuel development, such as Norway and Sweden. DNV GL recently launched a Recommended Practice for authorities, LNG bunker suppliers and ship operators, which provides guidance on how LNG bunkering can be done in safely and efficiently.
According to DNV GL, LNG-fuelled ships have logged over 130 ship-years of operation in Norwegian waters. In some parts of the world, operators, suppliers and regulators have gained experience in all aspects of LNG-fuelled ship operations in recent years. However, the process for developing the required infrastructure has not yet been standardized. In order to ascertain a worldwide increase in the use of LNG as a maritime fuel, it would certainly be safer and more efficient to disseminate a standardized bunkering system instead of having each party building their own with varying degrees of safety standards and operational procedures, DNV GL also states the currently, 83 LNG-fuelled ships are in operation or on order worldwide and range from Passenger Ferries, Coast Guard ships and Cargo vessels to Tankers and PSVs. Some estimates are forecasting a global LNG-fuelled fleet at 3,200 by the year 2025. The EU is reportedly going to help investors in equipping 139 seaports and inland ports with LNG bunker stations by 2025.
With this scenario in mind, DNV GL believes that the time is ripe for standardizing the development processes, designs and operations of LNG bunkering facilities for Maritime refueling. “An ISO committee brought together the experience and know-how of more than 30 industry professionals in 2011 and its draft guideline was published in June 2013. The ISO guideline defines the overall philosophies of designs and operations relevant to LNG bunkering and suggests a list of 24 functional requirements. However, it is not intended to be concrete and descriptive about how to achieve the requirements’ objectives,” stated Lars Petter Blikom, DNV GL’s LNG director.
He explains that DNV GL therefore set out to put its own knowledge and experience of how to meet the ISO guideline’s requirements into a more practical format. This is the purpose of the RP, which is based on knowledge acquired by DNV GL in LNG bunkering projects and also on relevant experience from industries involved, such as the maritime industry, and in particular from the large-scale LNG industry. The RP covers all modes of bunkering a ship with LNG and provides guidance on how to work on the three key topics suggested by the ISO guideline, such as, planning, design and operation; safety management systems; and risk assessment.
Of key importance to the increased growth of LNG as a maritime fuel on ships is the concept of ‘layers of defense’ in order to guarantee rugged safeguards on construction of bunkering facilities and the handling of LNG fuel during refueling operations. These “layers of defense” are detailed in RP and include both equipment and procedures. The RP document is being or may have already been update by DNV GL based on the input received by the industry, and will then be published.