At Nordic Marine Oil A/S, we monitor the LNG situation. We see many interesting challenges that can – and for sure will – change the way of thinking and performing bunkering operations in the near future.
LNG bunkering operations are already being carried out worldwide with great success and LNG terminals are being built in Asia and Europe.
The prospect that LNG could become a major global energy source is presently one of the most keenly debated issues in the bunkering industry. We notice a general agreement in the industry that LNG will grow in importance over the next few years, but still it remains unclear how it will contribute towards Europe’s energy portfolio in the future.
What do the big refineries plan for the future? What requirements do shipowners have to vessels to be built in future? Two very important questions when discussing the future use of LNG and LNG bunkering – also keeping in mind the 2020 sulphur 0,50 % regulations.
What is LNG?
LNG, or liquefied natural gas, is simply natural gas converted into a liquid by cooling it to -161°Celcius. This process reduces its volume by a factor of more than 600 – similar to reducing the volume of a beach ball to the volume of a ping-pong ball. This allows natural gas to be transported efficiently by sea. Once it reaches its destination, LNG is unloaded from ships at import terminals where it is stored as a liquid until it is warmed up and turns into a natural gas again. The natural gas is then distributed in pipelines to businesses and homeowners.
What requirements/challenges do we see when bunkering LNG?
LNG Bunkering is more complex than normal bunkering operations and therefore creates special demands to the vessel and to operators’ gear and procedures.
- Special procedures
- ESD (emergency shutdown systems)
- Break away coupling
- Very low temperature (approx. -160 °C)
- Any contact with carbon steel will lead to brittle fractures
- Skin contact will result in severe burn injuries
- Constantly boiling liquid
- The LNG is kept cool by constantly boiling off cargo
- During a cargo transfer excessive BOG is generated and must be handled
- Ageing cargo (composition changes over time)
- Hazardous area classification
- LNG composition can vary
At Nordic Marine Oil A/S, we have trained our team in LNG bunkering operations in order for us to meet and prepare for the future challenges in the growing LNG market. You are always welcome to contact our team to find the best solution for your situation – your requirements are our most important tasks.