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New JIP formed to develop LNG as fuel market

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

BHP Billiton, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Rio Tinto, SDARI, Woodside, and DNV GL recently signed a new joint industry project (JIP) to promote the development of the LNG as a marine fuel market.

The JIP, named ‘Green Corridor’, will assess the commercial potential of LNG-fuelled vessels in a ‘green corridor’ between Australia and China, culminating in the creation of a next generation Capesize design that will undergo Approval in Principle (AiP) under the new DNV GL rules.

The JIP has two main objectives – building and assessing the business case of LNG as fuel for Capesize bulkers operating in the trade between Australia-China, and developing an efficient LNG fuelled Capesize concept design. These activities will be run together, with the immediate results generated from one project fed into the other.

The financial and technical feasibility study examines a LNG fuelled Capesize bulker operating from Australia. It will look at a wide range of factors including the capital costs, operational costs and price sensitivities in terms of LNG and low sulfur marine fuel oils, in comparison to both a conventionally fuelled vessel and an LNG retrofit, as well as undertaking a high level bunker supply chain assessment to identify the key issues affecting the vessel design and business case.

The project partners will also work to develop a concept design for an efficient LNG-fuelled Capesize vessel. The ship will be optimised for operations from and to Australia, and will be developed to a technical stage so that it may achieve an Approval in Principle (AIP) in compliance with the new DNV GL rules.

Morten Lovstad, DNV GL – Maritime Business Director Bulk Carriers, said: “As we approach the entry into force date for sulfur emissions, we are seeing interest in LNG as a ship fuel start to climb again […] As one of the largest LNG exporters in the world and with bunkering infrastructure coming online, Australia is well placed to support the bulk trade on the west coast with LNG as fuel. By working together with some of the industry’s technology leaders we are confident this new project has the potential to deliver a competitive, compliant and safe vessel and the business case to back it up.”

Woodside COO, Mike Utsler, said: “We recognise that LNG as a transport fuel option presents opportunities, both in a commercial sense and as a low-emissions alternative to other marine fuels. This JIP importantly is bringing together mining companies, a shipowner and supplier, a ship designer and LNG producer and led by DNV GL to explore how we can develop the LNG fuelled 'Green Corridor'. Woodside is this year taking delivery of the first LNG-fuelled marine support vessel in the Southern Hemisphere and we look forward to the findings from this joint industry project on the potential for LNG fuel use by bulk carriers.”

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