LNG bunkering growing in Europe as use of IAPH audit tool spreads

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

07 December 2018


With LNG bunkering demand set to grow, use of its audit tool for licensing operations is spreading, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) has said in a statement.

The statement comes after use of the tool was mentioned by two speakers at a recent bunkering conference in London. Cees Boon, Senior Policy Advisor at the Harbourmaster Policy Department of the Port of Rotterdam and also a member of the IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group which put together the audit tool with the support of the industry said, “By 2020, our estimate is that we will have granted nine licenses to LNG bunker providers to operate at the Port of Rotterdam; six of the licenses are already for regular use in port LNG bunker operations to refuel LNG-powered cruise, cargo, tanker and container vessels. Three licenses will be for bunker vessels that will operate on the spot market”

Boon later gave an overview on LNG onshore and ship-to-ship bunkering facilities which have been licensed and already operational. He also explained the entire procedure for licensing and how LNG ship-to-ship bunkering during simultaneous operations (“SIMOPS”) is possible & permitted alongside terminals at the Port of Rotterdam as long as it is safe and controlled.

By following a systematic and highly detailed process of checks on both LNG bunkering vessels and the operator, the IAPH Audit tool was found to be a very useful and efficient way of pre-qualifying an applicant before entering into the full process of HAZID/HAZOP risk assessment, location, mooring, simultaneous operations and external risk assessments.

Boon commented, “We found that by having operators answer a detailed list of questions from the IAPH audit tool, we could offer concrete observations as constructive feedback as to how they measured up to industry best practices at an early stage. This also allows operators and vessel owners to build these into their safety management systems prior to the main nautical and external safety studies taking place on location.”

He added, “once a license has been granted to a bunker operator and vessel owner, the result of the IAPH LNG audit tool can also be shared with other port authorities receiving applications from the same parties. With the previous example in this afternoon’s session, the IAPH tool could in theory be used to assess the same operator and LNG bunker vessel owner across several ports”

At the same conference Dunkerque LNG provided an overview of their port infrastructure to meet up to 13BCM (billion cubic metres) of LNG import demand into France and Belgium as well as providing full LNG ship bunkering operations. Whilst most of the world’s 118 LNG-powered vessels currently operate in the Baltic Sea, Dunkerque LNG’s Cécile Grégoire-David predicted that the majority of the world’s 128 LNG fuel-enabled newbuilds currently on order would call at European destinations. This could translate into a future potential of up to 50 LNG bunker operations per year at the port of Dunkirk by 2025. She also highlighted the EU-funded “GREEN LOOP” program in which Dunkerque LNG aims to participate with TOTAL in LNG bunkering operations together with vessel owner MOL to serve the fleet of newbuild CMA-CGM dual-fuel Ultra-Large Container Vessels currently under construction for delivery between 2018 and 2020.