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The fuel duel and carbon, capture and storage

Photo: CSM Mark O'Neil CEO of CSM
Mark O'Neil CEO of CSM
Discussions on future fuels, drivers for decarbonisation, and the potential role of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) were all high the agenda at Capital Link’s International Shipping Forum in New York this week.

The keynote session featured an overview from DNV Maritime’s CEO, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, who identified a triad of key themes facing the maritime business- geopolitical tensions rising, and leading to unpredictable markets, regulatory agendas being defined by ESG and decarbonisation, and lastly, the uses of technology in developing new and better fuels.

He did suggest that energy security had taken a precedence over the energy transition. His follow-on inferences, “that is creating some delay in the investment into renewals” and “a lot of the infrastructures for the new fuels are late…and in short supply.”

Moderator John Benson, Partner at law firm Watson Farley Williams (WFW), reported on WFW research regarding shipowners’ fuel preferences for new fuels, and made the rhetorical statement “Do we really believe…that a fossil free carbon zero future is what is in front of us? “

In responding to the statement, Mark O’Neil, CEO of Colombia Shipmanagement said continued: “That proposition does not stand up to scrutiny, particularly when we look at the geopolitical situation that we currently face…do we really believe that this is an environment in which the green revolution can, or should take place?

After asking, again rhetorically, “Do we believe that the decarbonisation narrative is indeed the right one?”, with carbon going all the way down to zero.  He did offer an alternative, saying: “Is the correct narrative, perhaps, carbon reduced, or emission capture, or carbon capture?” He added: “I think that we are all jumping onto the decarbonisation bandwagon for all the wrong reasons.”

Other panel members put different spins on the issue. Semiramis Paliou, the CEO of listed drybulk company Diana Shipping said: “The thing is that we are in a transitional phase…and we are actually discovering things constantly”. The dilemma though was not having viable options today yet needing to make a speedy transition. Better fuels will come in the future but they will take quite a long time.

Dr.  Loukas Bamparis, President of Safe Bulkers, also a dry bulk specialist, identified some problems with carbon capture solutions. In his remarks, he said: “It sounds very nice and interesting, however there are several problems- we need to have very big facilities aboard the ships to do carbon capture.” He went on to say that “the future needs to be about several different fuels”.

TAGS: Americas