Australia has opened an independent not-for-profit LNG Marine Fuel Institute (LNG MFI), located in Perth, Western Australia. Driven by the country’s more than 90% reliance on imported transport fuels, despite extensive natural gas reserves, the Institute’s mission is to enable Australian Liquefied Natural Gas to be a primary fuel for marine transportation.
The official launch took place last week in the national capital, Canberra, attended by Mr. Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Environment and Energy.
LNG MFI will work with affiliated government and non-government bodies around the globe and regulatory bodies to advocate government, industry and the public for LNG as a marine fuel, ensuring stable and environmentally sustainable growth for the maritime sector.
The Institute brings together key agencies, federal, state and industry regulators, and businesses throughout Australasia. It’s partnership with the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF) in the Northern Hemisphere addresses LNG MFI’s mission to secure LNG as a marine fuel for the global maritime industry. It is the only organization of this type based in the Southern Hemisphere.
Richard Sandover, Chairman of LNG MFI, said at the launch that Australia needs to address the security and economic issues arising from reliance on imported fuels. Measures by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to impose reduced emissions levels have been matched and sometimes exceeded by some countries. The IMO stipulates that by 2020, SO2 emissions from marine fuel must be reduced from 3.5% to 0.5%.
“A number of OECD countries including China, USA, Canada, the Baltic States and the European Union have started the process,” Sandover said. “They have introduced even more stringent standards relating to emissions from ships sailing through their territorial waters. For example, they have mandated lower standards for SO2 from the proposed IMO level of 0.5% to 0.1%. Such a standard cannot practically be met by using Heavy Fuel Oil. By comparison, LNG as a marine fuel emits negligible sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulates emissions, and 10-20% lower greenhouse emissions.”
Sandover explained LNG MFI supports the creation of a green trade route between Australia and Asian ports, particularly with China, Japan and Korea, which could lead to a strong national LNG bunkering industry, the creation of jobs and enhanced fuel security.
“LNG MFI sees a future for LNG fuels, not only in the marine industry but also our road, rail and mining industries being fuelled by our own gas. For LNG MFI, it is about Australia gaining energy independence. Our CEO and director, Captain Walter Purio describes this as our ‘noble cause‘ and he is right,” Sandover added.
Recently interviewed by CWC, Captain Purio responded to a question about why LNG MFI sees LNG as a fuel of choice: “Eventually, we maintain, the global charters and the fleets that support their trade will put short term compliance methods (scrubbers, SCR’s and EGR’s) into the ‘too hard’ basket given the international nature of our business.”
(Source: LNG Marine Fuel Institute )