Infrastructure development and LNG supply chain
LNG refueling is becoming an alternative for shipping companies wishing to reduce their carbon footprint with an immediate impact. Today there is around 20% less CO2 and virtually zero NOx and SOx – this has helped develop new markets within the LNG industry, initiating unprecedented levels of vessel and vessel building refueling, and the construction of new gas trains.
The new global limit of 0.50% on the sulfur content of ships’ fuel – imposed by the IMO in January 2020 – is, however, set to encourage investment in LNG. This tighter cap on marine bunker fuel is spurring the installation of new machinery (or conversion where possible) designed to run on LNG, as well as the construction of related infrastructure, to enable the switch to LNG-powered ships.
This standard creates a self-reinforcing feedback loop, where the development of an efficient, secure and competitive LNG supply chain and related bunkering infrastructure drives the adoption of LNG-powered vessels.
The LNG supply chain is a carbon-intensive process. Gas demand absorption will be met by LNG in many countries without domestic gas production or pipeline from neighboring countries. By its very nature, the LNG supply chain spans the globe and involves different industrial processes. Until now, however, LNG emissions have been considered in a more segmented way. With the growth of the LNG refueling market, there is an increasing focus on lifecycle emissions of the entire LNG supply chain, from well-to-trailer emissions to the final burn.
Projects attracting investment
LNG is a global commodity with 19 countries exporting to 40 importers in April 2022, according to the International Gas Union. Bunkering infrastructure to support LNG as a marine fuel continues to snowball.
Investment in LNG infrastructure has increased, with 140 ports now providing LNG bunkering. In 2013, there were only six LNG bunker vessels in operation. By July 2022, that number had more than sixfold, to 38 LNG bunker vessels in service, with another 18 on order at shipyards, according to DNV. Overview of alternative fuels.
With 313 LNG-powered vessels currently in service – and 503 more on order – a growing number of bunker facilities are gearing up to meet future demand for LNG as a fuel.
Flexible LNG solutions and improved interface management
In international markets, LNG is traded as a commodity. In international shipping, it is used as fuel. Every market needs flexible solutions to ensure safety, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and ultimately business model success – from ship-to-shore links for FSRUs to GEN3 hybrid solutions for bunker vessels. New projects need to find a quick return on investment (ROI), while established installations need to keep pace with today’s changing demands.
Given the global reach and myriad applications of the LNG industry, diversity is the norm. From traditional terminals to bunker barges and everything in between, project requirements vary widely, inviting varied solutions and making it difficult to manage interfaces at transfer touchpoints. Optimizing the interface at the different stages of the LNG supply chain is essential to support the economic model of each transfer operation. Optimizing interfaces means consistent communication and standardized processes at every handover point.
Efficient equipment offers flexibility
Adopting easily configurable and compatible equipment systems provides several benefits, such as better overview of operations, improved productivity, reliability, safety and ultimately faster return on investment. for all stakeholders. Efficient systems that provide these benefits are able to provide support to LNG operators who need operational flexibility to adapt to spot contracts.
Conversely, fragmentation creates inefficiencies and security issues, and reduces the ability to implement flexible business models. A standardized approach across facilities opens up opportunities for all stakeholders through common requirements and systems. System standardization improves operational control. At the same time, data sharing between parties is improved, enabling effective communications, rapid response to potential issues, and enhanced long-term decision-making.
Supporting an international LNG-fueled maritime network requires robust system architecture design from the start. In turn, this requires oversight between stakeholders and an understanding of requirements between parties.
The role of specifications
Each port and terminal is unique. It is important to identify the correct specifications needed in the early stages of a project to ensure long-term performance and project safety. The ability to understand materials and applications plays an important role in optimizing safety and performance and ensuring the right solution for the job.
At the same time, products must meet different regulatory requirements globally, and vendors must understand and integrate all necessary standards into their solution – and be prepared to provide top-notch support 24/7. 7 where necessary to ensure downtime is kept to a minimum. minimum.
Demand for cleaner fuels is expected to propel LNG refueling into a mature market phase – where spot contracts are used, rather than long-term contracts only. Along with developing economies generating new applications and hence new markets, the global LNG infrastructure market is expected to witness significant growth in the near future.
However, the LNG infrastructure must be able to meet demand. Accelerating LNG fueling to meet sustainability demands requires LNG infrastructure that can meet demand by berthing more and more LNG-powered vessels safely and efficiently.
The LNG industry demands integrated solutions rather than individual products. Our main objective is therefore to design LNG solutions that offer configurability, compatibility and flexibility for your tailor-made operational needs. In order to meet the different challenges and opportunities of LNG, LNG leaders must adapt to the needs of different business models, changing environments and transfer scenarios. To do this and help ensure that LNG operations run safely and efficiently, operational flexibility is crucial.