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Live From Nor-Shipping 2017
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LNG bunkering process more complex, to change supplier relationships: ExxonMobil

LNG as a marine fuel will bring with it more complexities to the bunkering process and change the relationship between the owner and the supplier, according to ExxonMobil's global marketing manager marine fuels and lubricants, Iain White.

ExxonMobil's Energy Outlook 2040 forecasts that LNG will form 10% of the marine fuel mix by 2040 making it an important product and many others in the industry share this view with Nor-Shipping seeing a slew of LNG fuelled vessel designs.

“LNG is a good solution but for a number of reasons it brings with complexities,” White told Seatrade Maritime News in an interview at Nor-Shipping.

“the only people today that are familiar with how LNG operates are people who work on an LNG carrier. So I think that's part of the challenge the industry has got to skill up to manage LNG on more vessel types and that is something that's very important as LNG is very different from current liquid fuels in use,” he explained.

“You don't want to do it wrong, you don't want to have a mistake with LNG.”

The bunkering operation will be more complex than for fuel oil where the barge comes alongside the hose attached and pumping starts. “That whole bunkering process is going to have to be managed in a different way. The crew have got to know what they are doing.” White said.

There is also the question of what will happen when the vessel requires drydocking which would require the bunker supplier to take the fuel off the ship to make it gas free.

“It's not going to be the straightforward spot purchase you see to day in the fuel industry, it's going to be a different kind of relationship with the supplier. More long term, more involved,” he stated.

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