At the LNG Ship/Shore Interface Conference in London late November, which brought together Europe’s LNG transportation supply chain to discuss ship and terminal operations at the jetty, offshore and bunker station, the IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group’s LNG bunkering audit tool was showcased.
The LNG bunkering audit tool is already in use at the Port of Rotterdam to licence operations.
LNG bunkering operations set to grow exponentially in next five years
“By 2020, our estimate is that we will have granted nine licenses to LNG bunker providers to operate at the Port of Rotterdam; six of the licenses are already for regular use in port LNG bunker operations to refuel LNG-powered cruise, cargo, tanker and container vessels. Three licenses will be for bunker vessels that will operate on the spot market” commented Cees Boon, Senior Policy Advisor at the Harbourmaster Policy Department of the Port of Rotterdam. “By using best practice guidelines in the IAPH audit tool developed by ports for port authorities, licenses to operate can be efficiently assessed and granted to professional LNG bunker operators looking to provide their services across several ports”
Mr Boon was speaking at the Riviera Maritime LNG Ship/Shore Conference in London, at the session on new developments in LNG terminal infrastructure. He is also a member of the IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group which put together the audit tool with the support of the industry. This includes an oil major, a key operator, a classification society, LNG bunker owner-operators and some of the world’s largest port authorities.
Over 120 LNG fuel-enabled newbuilds currently under construction
During the session, Dunkerque LNG provided an overview of their port infrastructure to meet up to 13 BCM (billion cubic metres) of LNG import demand into France and Belgium as well as providing full LNG ship bunkering operations. Whilst most of the world’s 118 LNG-powered vessels currently operate in the Baltic Sea, Dunkerque LNG’s Cécile Grégoire-David predicted that the majority of the world’s 128 LNG fuel-enabled newbuilds currently on order would call at European destinations. This could translate into a future potential of up to 50 LNG bunker operations per year at the port of Dunkirk by 2025.
Grégoire-David also highlighted the EU-funded “GREEN LOOP” program in which Dunkerque LNG aims to participate with TOTAL in LNG bunkering operations together with vessel owner MOL to serve the fleet of newbuild CMA-CGM dual-fuel Ultra-Large Container Vessels currently under construction for delivery between 2018 and 2020.
Port of Rotterdam’s procedure for licensing
Following the Dunkerque LNG presentation, Cees Boon, who is safety advisor at the Port of Rotterdam Authority, gave an overview on LNG onshore and ship-to-ship bunkering facilities which have been licensed and already operational. He also explained the entire procedure for licensing and how LNG ship-to-ship bunkering during simultaneous operations (“SIMOPS”) is possible & permitted alongside terminals at the Port of Rotterdam as long as it is safe and controlled.
By following a systematic and highly detailed process of checks on both LNG bunkering vessels and the operator, the IAPH Audit tool, which uses a detailed checklist of questions, was found to be a very useful and efficient way of pre-qualifying an applicant before entering into the full process of HAZID/HAZOP risk assessment, location, mooring, simultaneous operations and external risk assessments.
Cees commented : “We found that by having operators answer a detailed list of questions from the IAPH audit tool, we could offer concrete observations as constructive feedback as to how they measured up to industry best practices at an early stage. This also allows operators and vessel owners to build these into their safety management systems prior to the main nautical and external safety studies taking place on location.”
He added : “once a license has been granted to a bunker operator and vessel owner, the result of the IAPH LNG audit tool can also be shared with other port authorities receiving applications from the same parties. With the previous example in this afternoon’s session, the IAPH tool could in theory be used to assess the same operator and LNG bunker vessel owner across several ports”