Norway has been pioneering LNG as a marine fuel. By 2017, DNV-GL reports nearly 100 LNG powered vessels in operation globally, more than half of which in Norway. Norway has actively promoted LNG as a maritime fuel since many years. As a result, the Norwegian LNG fleet currently includes ferries, patrol ships, tug boats, oil and chemical tankers and platform supply vessels (PSVs). Moreover, along the Norwegian coast LNG is available from various on-shore LNG bunkering stations.
Global LNG fleet development
With the new SECA regulations taking effect, the fleet of LNG powered ships is expected to grow rapidly also outside of Norway. Whereas Norway has been at the forefront of LNG as a maritime fuel, Europe, USA and China are catching up rapidly. Both the number and size of LNG powered ships is growing. Therefore, significant new LNG bunkering infrastructure is required.
When used as marine fuel, LNG produces no visible smoke and causes no sludge deposits. This is a significant advantage over scrubbers, which are used to reduce the SOX emissions of ships powered by heavy fuel oil. Moreover, LNG also reduces the noise level on board.
LNG bunkering operations
Barents Naturgass AS is the main LNG supplier to the marine sector in Northern Norway. It operates three onshore LNG bunkering stations which are located in Moskenes, Lodingen and Hammerfest. Hammerfest is a strategically located hub for the offshore sector as well as for the fishing industry in Northern Norway. Barents Naturgass also regularly performs truck-to-ship LNG bunkering along the coastline of Northern Norway and the Swedish and Finish coast lines of the Botnian Gulf. The customers of Barents Naturgass include among others the Norwegian Coast Guard (Forsvaret) and ferry operator Torghatten Nord. By now, Barents Naturgass has performed over 2000 bunkering operations, making it one of the most experienced LNG bunkering companies globally.
Molgas Energia S.A.U. was the first company to offer LNG bunkering operations in Southern Europe. It offers truck-to-ship bunkering services amongst others in Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia. Molgas is constructing a new LNG bunkering facility in Valencia, which will become operational by 2018.
Polarbase LNG bunker terminal
Since 2013, Barents Naturgass is offering bunkering services to its customers from its LNG bunkering station in Hammerfest. This LNG bunkering terminal is located at the Polarbase offshore supply base. Until the beginning of 2017, the LNG bunkering station at Polarbase had a 250 m3 storage tank and a bunkering capacity of 1000 m3 per hour. In 2016, Barents Naturgass decided to expand the capacity of the Polarbase LNG terminal. Two new vertical tanks were erected expanding the capacity to 1250 m3 and allowing bunkering of larger ships. End of April 2017, the Norwegan minister for Energy opened the new Polarbase LNG facility. As of May 2017, operations have started successfully. The new Polarbase LNG bunkering station is the largest of its kind in Europe.