BC Ferries has awarded a long-term contract to FortisBC to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel the three new intermediate class vessels that are currently under construction. The first ship is scheduled to enter service in late 2016, the second vessel by early 2017 and the third ship by mid-2017. By the time all three ships are in service, FortisBC will be supplying BC Ferries with 300,000 gigajoules of LNG per year, the energy equivalent of 7.8 million litres of diesel fuel.
“We are pleased to collaborate with FortisBC, a safety leader in gas supply, for our new LNG vessels,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering. “The use of LNG has both financial and environmental benefits and this contract will ensure we have a long-term, secure supply to power the new intermediate class vessels.”
“BC Ferries has taken the lead as one of the first passenger ferry services in the country to use LNG,” said Doug Stout, FortisBC Vice-President of Market Development and External Relations. “This abundant, made-in-B.C. energy source can reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 15 to 25 per cent, providing cleaner air for British Columbians.”
FortisBC has LNG plants at both Tilbury in Delta and Mt. Hayes near Nanaimo and will supply LNG fuel to the ships in the traditional manner that BC Ferries takes on diesel fuel, with trucks making deliveries to the dual-fuel vessels during non-operational periods.
Last year, BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel. Even with the current drop in diesel oil prices, BC Ferries expects to realize significant savings by operating vessels on LNG, which will help with fare affordability.
FortisBC also provided $6 million in incentive funding toward the three new vessels, which was made possible following the creation of the Government of B.C.’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction regulation in 2012. Following those changes, FortisBC announced the $62-million program for fleet operators to offset part of the cost for a natural gas engine over a diesel engine.
“We’re working with FortisBC to establish the LNG transportation fuel market as part of our strategy to build and expand the province’s LNG industry,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. “Running ferries on LNG will reduce transportation costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and grow the market for our abundant natural gas reserves.”
To date, the incentive program has resulted in commitments for almost 400 natural gas vehicles on the road or vessels in the water, potentially eliminating 38,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of taking 8,000 passenger vehicles off the road each year. To date, including this new commitment by BC Ferries, FortisBC has signed agreements for $28 million in incentive funding for land vehicles and marine vessels. With the current LNG price at Tilbury and Mt. Hayes the equivalent of $0.37 per diesel litre equivalent, FortisBC LNG for transportation customers are expected to significantly reduce their fuel costs.
Under contract to the Province of British Columbia, BC Ferries is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal British Columbia.
(Source: FortisBC and BC Ferries)