William P. Doyle, a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), has delivered prepared remarks on the topic of LNG as a Marine Fuel at the recent Canadian LNG Export and Infrastructure Forum, in Calgary. In his view, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is taking hold in the United States, backed by strong support from the Obama Administration.
Doyle says that, “Considering the economics, natural gas is a more cost effective fuel source than marine residual and distillate fuels. The maritime industry is in the process of developing, converting and constructing LNG powered vessels. Bunkering for LNG vessels is an important component that is being explored and examined.”
Ho goes on to list several initiatives being developed for both ocean shipping and inland waterways, including:
- In February, General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California held a ceremony marking the first cut of steel for the construction of TOTE’s new Marlin Class container ship. It is expected to be the first LNG-powered containership in the world. TOTE expects to build two of these LNG powered vessels and homeport them in Jacksonville, Florida and operate them in the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico trade. The new Marlin Class vessels will create a reduction of sulfur dioxide (SOx) emissions by 98 percent, particulate matter (PM) by 99 percent, nitrous oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) by 71 percent over TOTE’s ships currently operating in Puerto Rico.
- In November 2013, Crowley announced it had executed agreements with shipbuilder VT Halter Marine Inc., of Pascagoula, Miss., to build two of the world’s first LNG-powered combination container – Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) ships. The ships will operate in the United States mainland to Puerto Rico trade. The vessel design is the work product of Wärtsilä Ship Design in conjunction with Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime, a Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm.
- In November 2013, Aker Philadelphia Shipyard announced it had been selected by Matson Navigation Company (Matson) to construct two 3,600 TEU containerships. The containerships will be utilized in Matson’s service from the U.S. West Coast to Hawaii. The vessels will be built with dual fuel engines and will be ready for conversion to LNG propulsion.
- At the beginning of 2014, Zeus Development Corporation identified approximately 42 vessels in North America that are under development or evaluation for conversion to LNG fuel.
In his closing remarks Doyle states: “This sector is new but growing– and there appears to be many opportunities available for those looking to operate LNG fueled vessels and/or enter into the LNG bunkering and fueling sectors.”