Eagle LNG Partners
14:50 - 15:15
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
S2.5 IMO2020: Unlocking the Potential of US LNG Bunkering
Eagle LNG is using small-scale LNG to develop affordable, efficient and clean-burning energy for marine bunkering. Eagle LNG was the first company in the U.S. to bunker LNG on a container ship using permanent shoreside fueling infrastructure. With the implementation of the IMO2020 regulation, LNG has become the leading choice of fuel for new ship builds. LNG as a marine fuel is expected to grow by 10-20 MTPA globally over the next 10 years. Asia and Europe have adopted business strategies to accommodate this era whereas North America must catch up quickly. The United States, with the cheapest gas in the world, can capture a large share of the growing market with the right infrastructure and partners.
Most large-scale facilities in the US are not readily capable of supplying LNG for marine needs. Instead, Eagle LNG has adopted the emerging small-scale LNG business model. Modular liquefaction technology is economically competitive at smaller volumes compared to conventional large-scale projects. Building liquefaction projects in phases allows flexibility and does not burden the first customer with underutilized capital assets. As the market grows, these projects are designed to expand and accommodate future demand.
For the U.S. to catch up in LNG bunkering, strategic investments in fueling infrastructure must also take place. Balancing regional solutions and customer specific solutions can be challenging. There are timing, sizing and siting considerations. There are several short-term and longer-term delivery options available for both land or waterside fueling, and there are tradeoffs between capital and operating costs among every solution.
A specialized dispensing skid that loads directly from a truck to the ship offers lower capital cost but higher operational complexity. An alternative shore-side bunkering option is a small permanent storage facility, like Eagle LNG’s terminal “Talleyrand”, which is higher capital costs relative to the skid, requires a longer term, but yields lower operational complexity. It encompasses a 2,000-cubic meter LNG storage and marine bunkering terminal on a 2-acre footprint in the Port of Jacksonville.
If shore-side fueling is not an option, in the US, bunker barges transiting between two US ports are required to be Jones Act compliant, a US ship with a US crew. There are a few innovative Jones Act compliant designs being developed for fueling options. One is an articulated tug barge (ATB) capable of traveling at faster speeds than a traditional barge but none have been deployed yet; the other is a traditional flat deck barge with c-type tanks towed by a wire which can be quicker to deploy using existing assets. ATB is the preferred for destinations more than 1-day sail from the supply point. The “Tow by Wire” option is available as a cheaper alternative for destinations less than 1-day sail from the supply point.
Opportunity exists for global partnerships between LNG suppliers and shippers to address these gaps and challenges. With the help of strong partnerships, collaboration with regulators and continued strategic thinking, we can support the gap and help grow the North American bunkering industry to meet energy demands.