Photo: Illustration only (Courtesy of Port of Algeciras)

EU backs Port of Algeciras LNG bunkering vessel build

The Spanish port of Algeciras has been granted EU support for the construction of a dedicated liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering vessel.

EU backs Port of Algeciras LNG bunkering vessel
Illustration only (Courtesy of Port of Algeciras)

Spanish terminal operator Enagás noted that the European Commission signed the grant agreement with the company and the Port Authority of Algeciras Bay.

This project is supported by the Enagás start-up that specializes in small-scale LNG supply infrastructure, Scale Gas, and the Port Authority of Algeciras Bay (APBA).

The initiative, coordinated by Enagás, is framed within the LNGhive2 strategy, led by the Spanish Ports Authority. It is also supported by the EU programme that contributes to the implementation of the Trans-European Transport Network, Connecting Europe Facility.

The EU will provide funding for 20 per cent of the project’s execution, approximately €11 million ($13.4 million). The aim is to support the development of the market for LNG as a sustainable marine fuel, in line with the EU Directive 2014/94/EU on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure.

The Port of Algeciras LNG bunkering project

The project consists of the construction of a bunkering barge with the capacity to store 12,500 cubic meters of LNG.

The vessel will enter into service in 2023, Enagás.

Once in operation, the vessel will be loaded with LNG at the Enagás terminal in Huelva and will then either supply it directly to end consumers or transfer it to smaller barges for the subsequent supply of smaller vessels berthed in the port of Algeciras.

Sustainable port area in the Bay of Algeciras

In 2012, the Port of Algeciras provided the first LNG bunkering service in Spain using a tanker truck, a service known as truck-to-ship (TtS) LNG bunkering.

In 2020, seven TtS LNG bunkering operations have been performed in Algeciras, a 300 per cent more LNG has been supplied to ships than in all of 2019.

Once operational, this new vessel will allow ship-to-ship (StS) LNG bunkering at the Port of Algeciras.

LNG is a strong alternative that enables progress towards the decarbonization of maritime transport and it is the cleanest fuel among those currently available for this type of mobility, contributing to improving air quality, particularly at ports.

The European Union supports the key role that LNG has to play in bringing about energy transition in the maritime sector. With the funds resulting from the CEF call for proposals, which has already provided funding for seven projects in Spain, it will be possible to achieve the climate goals set by the European Green Deal, giving priority to short sea shipping projects using alternative fuels, as well as the installation of energy bunkering systems on land in order to allow ports to reduce emissions from berthed vessels.

Bunkering operations in Spain

Up to November 2020, LNG bunkering operations in Spain increased fourfold compared to the same period the previous year.

According to DNV/GL, the provider of certification services, there are 175 LNG-powered ships in service in the world.

This new vessel will join the 20 bunkering barges already supplying LNG around the world and will strengthen the role of Spain and its ports in the field of LNG bunkering.

There were six ports in Spain supplying LNG to ships in 2019, a number that has now grown to 11 in 2020.

These advances have been made possible by the developments and investment of more than €300 million ($365.6 million) made or committed by the partners in the CORE LNGas hive and LNGhive2, public-private initiatives, for which a total of close to €62 million ($75.5 million) has been co-financed by the European Commission. These initiatives involve 49 partners, 21 of which are public institutions, including 13 port authorities, and 28 are private or industrial entities.