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Marine and LNG Partners Bid to Lower Shipping's Carbon Footprint

Companies with some extensive marine and liquefied natural gas (LNG) expertise have joined in an effort to provide LNG as a maritime fuel globally, the three companies announced Thursday. They said the goal is to make LNG the "marine fuel of choice."

Siemens Drilling and Marine, a second Siemens' business, Dresser-Rand (D-R), and Lloyd's Register (LR) are joining forces to provide marine vessels powered by natural gas, seeking to meet the increasingly tougher emissions standards for shipping regionally and globally.

While the current number of LNG marine vessels is placed at between 40-50, the companies are eyeing a variety of applications, including:

  • Land-based and/or floating LNG-powered barges that they have trademarked as LNGo vessels;
  • LNG bunkering barges (C-Type tanks with up to 2,500 cubic meters capacity); and
  • River Pushboats with 4,200 or higher horsepower.

These water-plying vessels would be produced by what the trio of companies described as an "end-to-end solution" for North American inland and coastal waterways. The vessels would be designed and engineered by leading naval firms, such as Waller Marine Inc. (WMI) and The Shearer Group Inc., respectively, and built by Conrad Industries shipyard in Orange, TX.

The Siemens/D-R/LR collaboration will span the entire supply chain from the natural gas procurement, liquefaction, LNG delivery to the building of new and retrofitted vessels, the companies said.

LR predicts strong growth in the use of LNG-fueled vessels globally, driven by increased emissions regulations. It cited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for marine operators in the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA).

Two years ago, the London-based International Maritime Organization (IMO) named Norway's 150-year-old DNV (Det Norske Veritas), which the U.S. Coast Guard uses as an independent laboratory to test and review ship technology, to "identify the necessary conditions" needed to successfully shift to LNG for fueling ships in the IMO-designated ECA (see Daily GPIJune 19, 2013).

The Siemens-led trio is hoping to "remove obstacles" that can hold back widespread adoption of natural gas in the marine sector. Some of these obstacles were explored last year in a webinar hosted by another Siemens' unit, Pace Global, that concluded that growth of small-scale LNG markets -- including the marine sector -- could be delayed until demand catches up with supply (see Daily GPIJune 26, 2014).

The new collaboration "encompasses the entire supply chain of LNG...and will remove the chicken-egg hurdle from the LNG equations," said David Grucza, an executive with Siemens Drilling/Marine. "This is a disruptive concept for the maritime industry, and the technology exists for immediate adoption." He said while the initial focus is on North America, the eventual market is global.

"Together, the team bring a holistic answer to the LNG marine fuel question of what comes first -- the bunkering station or the engine?" said WMI President David Waller.

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