SOHAR to offer LNG STS services
SOHAR Port and Freezone said it will be offering LNG ship-to-ship services.
That measures are now in place to begin issuing licenses to STS service providers equipped to handle LNG, came as a historic announcement at the 2014 Singapore International Bunkering Conference (SIBCON).
“With 125 years’ experience between them, Fendercare and SPT will be offered the opportunity to provide this pioneering service after requesting permission to begin operations,” according to a statement by SOHAR.
SOHAR Executive Commercial Manager Edwin Lammers revealed there are also plans to establish LNG bunkering facilities in SOHAR in years to come.
“We are delighted to announce that we have put all of the necessary licensing structures in place to be able to start LNG ship-to-ship services in SOHAR. Around the world there are currently only a few ports that are able to offer this service, among them Port of Rotterdam and Singapore,” Lammers explained.
“This will be the first phase of our project, and we will move quickly in issuing the new licenses and getting things up and running. The second phase will involve installing LNG bunkering services for vessels calling at SOHAR Port,” he continued.
The news comes just a few months ahead of the International Maritime Organisation’s deadline for cargo ships passing through so-called ‘Emissions Control Areas’ to drastically reduce the level of sulphur oxide in fuel supplies to just 0.1%. This has prompted an almost immediate worldwide investigation into potential LNG fuelling options.
“While the industry continues to explore safe and commercially viable options for reducing SOX levels in conventional fuels, many of the world’s biggest shipping lines are looking to bypass costly upgrades in favour of moving directly to LNG. We’ve anticipated this trend and expect the industry to develop fast,” said Lammers.
He continued: “As a first step, many organisations are developing ships that would be capable of burning LNG and diesel; Hanjin Shipping, DNV GL and GTT, for example, are currently designing a vessel that can carry 16,300 TEU on Asia-Europe routes. United Arab Shipping Co. is also building 17 hybrid ships — six with capacities of over 18,000 TEU, while UASC is looking to establish an LNG base in the Middle East.”
In addition to global shipping lines, a new European Union regulatory framework will make it a requirement for member states to build LNG infrastructure across core Trans-European Networks for Transport by 2025, ideally every 400 kilometres. With many of Europe’s ports falling within one of the IMO’s Emissions Control Areas, the new rules are part of a far wider clean fuel strategy focused on bringing alternative fuels to the entire European transport sector, including inland vehicles.
And Europe is not alone, according to Lammers: “A recent LNG bunkering survey published by Lloyd’s Register reported that of the 4 ports in North America, 15 in Europe, and 3 in Asia that took part in the survey, more than half have LNG plans in the pipeline, and more than half also said they are working alongside other ports to develop those plans,” Lammers continued.
“Like SOHAR, many of the ports surveyed expect to rely on third-party ship-to-ship suppliers while further studies are carried out, feasibility reports compiled, and the larger investments required to build in-port infrastructures are secured. Over time, this trend will naturally shift, as the market evolves and as the full array of LNG benefits are harnessed. This includes energy security; economic and environmental benefits,” he concluded.
Press Release, October 16, 2014; Image: SOHAR