The LNG Revolution: LNG powered vessels, bunkering infrastructure, coastal and inland movements

The LNG Revolution: LNG powered vessels, bunkering infrastructure, coastal and inland movements.


Gazprom OB River LNGC

Last week, I was a privileged attendee of the CMA shipping 2013. It’s a great event, attended by folks all over the world, covering almost every aspect of the marine industry.

“The LNG Revolution: LNG powered vessels, bunkering infrastructure, coastal and inland movements” was by far the most interesting panel this year.

Kenneth Vareide from DNV gave us mega trends and external drivers for the maritime industry (i) Fuel Trends, (ii) Regulatory and stakeholder pressure, (iii) economics growth and demand. He also gave us a briefing about DNV class vessels in Norway and Oslo’s decisions to develop the LNG propelled vessels in early 2000s, fuel economics, how small vessels are refueled (by truck once week with a 8 hour trip from Bergen to Oslo).

-In Norway the demand for LNG-fueled vessels has been strong, due to its strict Emission Control Area.

-In the US, the main driver is the shale gas revolution.

DNV and Norway have gained a competitive advantage in LNG with these experiences and LNG is now ready to conquer the World.

Darrel Conner, Washington DC based lobbyist from K&L Gates gave us a great perspective about the dramatic changes that are occurring. These changes have happened over the three or five years!  According to him, the economics make sense but it is the trade policy and regulatory/political environment are really behind the curve. The industry is trying to drag on the government along with them to make sure that regulations will be supporting this LNG revolution and to maintain that rate of change in the global transportation.

Thomas S. Knudsen, Senior V-P from MAN Diesel & Turbo, Denmark one of the three major LNG engine designers in the world has engaged a technical discussion about the development of LNG fueled engines. The global shipping structure must adapt to the changing economics and benefits of the LNG. One of those things who are going to drive those changes is the engine. The ME-GI is a two stokes engine which offer flexibility towards lng, hfo, LPG, methanol, Dimethyl ether. This engine is small and compact, so it doesn’t reduced the cargo carried by ships like previous turbine engines.

The LNG methane content varies from supply sources, the greatest productions of LNG have lower quality methane numbers, and a wider tolerance for gas quality by engines promotes market growth through a greater availability of supply. The Teekay LNGC equipped with a ME-GI can run at 19,5 Knots and save 30 ton of HFO equivalent per day, so roughly 20,000$ per Day for the ship-owner plus very low maintenance cost, consider this a major evolution.

*I also had  the opportunity to talk with Mr. Knudsen during the break time and he and I have engaged the discussion with Engine MN spec vs World LNG MTPA segregated by MN AVL spec( Methane number to AVL method), target is to have a MN above 80 to avoid knock problems on the engine, on certain engines like the ME-GI it can go lower and (you can guess it has major Trading & Supply implications)

The Trade, Shipping and Finance Wizard



WORLD LNG production/quality *

*Exxon Mobil source

MN range (AVL)    Global Lng prod. MTPA**     quality  (%) total production

0-70                               26                                       10 %

70-75                             118.3                                  43 %

75-80                             26.1                                    10%

80-100                           102.8                                  38 %

0-100                             273.13                                 100%

** Metric Ton per Annum.

An engine with a MN spec of AVL of 80 can use just 38% of the world supplies.

An engine with a MN spec of AVL of 70 can use 90% of the world supplies.

A wider tolerance to gas quality by engines across sectors promotes market growth through greater supply availability.

Methane number to AVL method and simplified method

Avoiding engine knock in gas engines / packaged CHP

Monitoring / compliance with natural gas quality required at CNG fuelling stations

The MN number is used for gas engine fuel compatibility as you would use the WI (wobbe index) for the gas turbines. Why MN? I guess this has to do with the natural gas that is normally burned and composed of around 85 to 90 %mol in Methane. Target is to have a MN above 80 to avoid knock problems on the engine. Certain engines can go lower.

The knock resistance of gaseous fuels is often evaluated by the methane number. Methane, which has high knock resistance, is given the index 100. Hydrogen, which has low knock resistance, is given the index 0. If a certain gas mixture has a methane number of 70, its knock resistance is equivalent to that of a gas mixture of 70 % methane and 30 % hydrogen.

Technical Sources

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