Fourteen of the most powerful names in the value chain have joined forces to promote take-up of LNG as marine fuel, going public with their plans at a formal launch ceremony in London on Tuesday night.
SEA\LNG fields an impressive line-up. Its chairman is Tote executive vice-president Peter Keller. Other leading players are Shell general manager downstream LNG Lauran Wetemans and Wärtsilä North America vice-president John Hatley.
Its members – Carnival, DNV GL, Engie, ENN, GE, GTT, Lloyd’s Register, Mitsubishi, NYK Line, the Port of Rotterdam and Qatargas – are first-movers in the switch to LNG.
This select band of pioneers will “speak with one voice” to promote take-up of LNG as marine fuel, meeting quarterly in different cities around the world to discuss opportunities and to identify and overcome market barriers.
SEA\LNG will complement and draw on expertise from existing industry bodies the Society of Gas as Marine Fuel (SGMF) and the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO).
It will not have a commercial remit, Mr Wetemans and Mr Keller told LNG World Shipping, and so should not raise anti-trust issues.
Take-up of LNG as marine fuel could use some support.
As of March, there were just 80 LNG-fuelled seagoing vessels and inland waterway craft in service and 106 on order, amounting to a total fleet of just 186 vessels. That – literally and metaphorically – is a drop in the ocean, in a global shipping fleet of some 15,400 vessels.
The list of LNG-fuelled tonnage is small enough for this magazine to have named those ships online.
Earlier this year, classification society DNV GL revised down its predictions of 1,000 LNG-powered vessels on the water by 2020 to a paltry 600, which would require 4 million tonnes of LNG.
SEA\LNG has pledged to tackle the barriers that exist on a macro level – disparities in international regulation, addressing misconceptions about supply or safety of LNG and supporting growth in LNG bunkering and infrastructure. To date, just five LNG bunker-supply ships have been ordered around the world.
Mr Keller says SEA\LNG aims to “transform the use of LNG as marine fuel into a global reality”. Its members talk about a 10 per cent tipping point that will herald a new era of gas-fuelled shipping.
Engie Global LNG chief executive Philip Olivier believes “LNG has the potential to take a 10 per cent market share of global bunker demand by 2030”.
But the leap to LNG requires individual companies to put up cold, hard cash. There is still, as SEA\LNG acknowledges, a price premium attached to making that switch.
Can SEA\LNG persuade others to join the club?
We can’t wait to find out…
Source: LNG World Shipping