Despite the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, LNG has maintained operational continuity and will play a long-term role in the global clean energy transition
The LNG shipping industry has continued to maintain continuity of operations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This, of course, has not come without the great sacrifice and perseverance of our mariners. Our seafarers have kept commerce flowing, despite serving onboard well past their scheduled end of contract, far from their own families and homes. Any crew changes that have been accomplished have been carefully planned in accordance with strict guidelines, following quarantine and testing protocols.
Covid-19 has impacted the way we engage with our members, too. Like other organisations, SIGTTO is using video conferencing tools to conduct meetings and webinars to allow members to interact from their own offices and homes.
Just recently the society held its first ever ‘virtual’ board meeting by Zoom. This meeting generated robust discussions among directors attending from time zones stretching from California to Tokyo.
Gastech goes virtual
With Covid-19 redefining in-person meetings, in early September I served as one of the technical co-chairs for the first virtual Gastech conference. With strategic and technical content streamed online, the Gastech Virtual Summit 2020 provided a vital platform for the gas, LNG and energy industry to exchange insight and discuss the post-pandemic landscape and new market dynamics. The summit contained 19 technical sessions, with 56 presentations, including three shipping sessions.
“Gas is forecast to play an important long-term role in the global clean energy transition”
Serving as a moderator for those sessions was an interesting experience. To enter the platform as a moderator or speaker, you logged into a virtual ‘green room’ to meet fellow participants and attend last-minute briefings from the organisers. Then, following a link shared in the green room, you moved through to the live studio.
To minimise technical difficulties and maintain scheduling, the presentations were all pre-recorded, with only the moderator’s introduction and question and answer period at the end live. Attendees asked questions through live chat. Attendance to the event was very impressive. Delegates had the ability to attend a live conference from their own homes without any travel cost, with the option to interact with other delegates in virtual meeting rooms and view the virtual exhibition.
The first technical session of Gastech is traditionally on shipping and chaired by the SIGTTO general manager; it has become known as the SIGTTO session over many years.
This year’s SIGTTO session looked at three very pertinent and relevant designs of new types of gas shipping; these covered the development of the world’s first liquid hydrogen tanker, the prospect of sails being utilised onboard LNG vessels to assist propulsion and a new revolutionary concept of break bulk LNG.
Majors at the conference spoke of their journey transitioning from oil towards clean energy, making the most of their capacity to raise capital and manage risk, whether that be technical or commercial. It is clearly not all about wind and solar, with gas forecast to play an important long-term role in the global clean energy transition, rather than just a bridging role, especially when combined with carbon capture.
Other current concerns of the LNG industry are depressed oil and gas prices, falling energy demand, storages nearing capacity and the repercussions on future investment. However, the outlook for LNG remains positive; LNG has continued to be traded throughout the Covid-19 period.
By this time next year, SIGTTO hopes that we will all be able to meet in Singapore for Gastech 2021. If you would be interested in presenting, you must submit your abstracts for Gastech 2021 before 29 January 2021.