Speaking at the Sea Japan 2014 International Maritime Seminar Trond Hodne, business director maritime for DNV GL, said that until now LNG had only been used for vessel on coastal or short sea trades, however, this was set for change.
“I think it’s just a matter of time until we see LNG fueled shipping also into deepsea trades,” Hodne said.
He noted that solutions existed and that DNV GL had been involved in a number of concept designs for deepsea LNG powered vessels
“The first place this will happen will be between Europe and the US. It really makes sense you have the ECAs (emission control areas) on both sides, cheap gas. That will happen relatively soon I think,” he predicted.
The key to developing deepsea LNG trades will be the bunkering infrastructure.
“Now we are seeing quite some developments on infrastructure in Asia and the US, in the US because of shale gas. I think now because of the infrastructure more vessels will come,” Hodne explained.
DNV GL is classing UASC’s series of 18,000 and 14,000 teu containership newbuildings, which will be LNG ready. UASC is planning to construct an LNG bunkering station in the Middle East so that LNG powered vessels can be deployed on the Asia – Europe trade.
The first LNG powered vessel, a ferry, was deployed in Norway in 2001. The number of LNG powered vessels either in service or order has just past the 100 mark, with 48 currently in service, and 53 newbuildings contracted.