Is liquefied natural gas the answer to the 2020 sulphur cap challenge?
Environmental regulations are changing the world of marine fuel. The Emission Control Area (ECA) 0.10 per cent sulphur cap has already resulted in the development of new low-sulphur fuels. However, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decision to implement a 0.50 per cent global sulphur limit in 2020 could further complicate engine operation as a result of the development of new compliance options.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) can reduce sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions by upwards of 90 per cent when measured against heavy fuel oil (HFO). This makes LNG an attractive proposition from a compliance perspective with 2020 in mind. It is an option with great potential but to take advantage, operators must fully consider the suitability of their vessels to carry LNG and determine whether they have access to a reliable and cost effective supply chain.
Well-versed industry observers are therefore forecasting a multi-fuel future with LNG augmenting rather than replacing the current fuels line-up. Predicting the exact level of take-up is, however, extremely difficult as owners and operators will need to carefully consider the options for their fleets based on factors such as vessel age and trading routes before making their compliance decisions.
ExxonMobil is currently helping the industry prepare for 2020. In cooperation with Pavilion Energy is underway to develop LNG bunkering at the global hub port of Singapore alongside its traditional fuel range. We are also working with industry partners to bring LNG bunkering to customers in the north of the UK and North Sea via a terminal on Orkney in readiness for a multi-fuel future.
As a result, we will be equipped to support our customers with a range of solutions including LNG that ensures compliance and maintains engine protection and performance.