Damen Shipyards of the Netherlands has been keeping a close eye on the maritime Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fuel market and has concluded the swing toward adoption of LNG is gathering momentum. The Group has developed a range of small Liquefied Gas Carriers as a response to these changes, the designs of which meet a variety of capacity requirements, from 500m3 to 7,500m3.
The maritime LNG market has long been faced with the conundrum around the subject of supply and demand. Ship owners have been reluctant to make the switch to LNG because of the lack of bunkering infrastructure. At the same time, development of bunker infrastructure has been slow to get off the ground due to the low demand from the market. This has been described on numerous occasions as ‘the chicken and egg’ situation.
However, Damen says the outlook for the LNG market is changing, something that can be put down to a number of factors. Firstly, states Bastiaan Schurink, Damen Shipyards Bergum’s Design & Proposal Marketeer, there is a continued focus on tightening exhaust emissions.
“Emissions regulations are getting tighter every day. Ships need to reduce their emissions – and one way to do that is LNG.” Indeed, following the establishment of the emissions control areas (ECAs), ship owners are looking for solutions to meet new legislation. “Of course there are other ways, but LNG is a preferred method to reduce not only SOx and NOx, but also a substantial amount of CO2 emissions.”
“Another important point is that the subject of LNG is becoming more and more interesting: both commercially and politically,” highlights Mr Schurink. “There are a growing number of European LNG bunkering projects that have been initiated by well-known oil and gas majors. EU funding is also making its presence felt.”
“At the moment this is a small niche market – but it’s up and coming,” continues Mr Schurink. “The European market is getting the ball rolling, and we expect these developments to continue in other regions too.”
“For example, the North American market is paying more attention to emissions. And the feeder markets in Indonesia and the Mediterranean are also interesting. We have designs and the specs available. All in all, we are fully prepared to build these vessels.”
(Source: Damen Shipyards Group)