Braemar Engineering’s director of business development Alexander Harsema-Mensonides emphasised the wide range of possible solutions for the future of LNG bunkering in a presentation at the LNG Ship/Shore Interface Conference in London today.
Mr Harsema-Mensonides outlined the history of LNG bunkering vessels to this point, starting with 180-m3 capacity Seagas, a converted ferry operating in Stockholm and highlighted noteworthy designs and possibilities for future development.
The main question for bunker vessels is how much LNG you need to deliver, he said. You need to decide whether to select a design based on requirements of pre-existing, locked-in trade or look at something with greater flexibility to meet market requirements further down the road, he added. He also noted the wide range of design options on offer including articulated tug/barge units, regular LNG carriers, bridge-forward designs, Type C tanks, Mk III membranes and self-supporting prismatic shape IMO type B tanks to name but a few.
Costs of LNG have dramatically decreased he said, noting that the price of a system has more or less halved in the past five or six years. He advocated for converting existing small- and mid-scale LNG carriers for bunkering purposes as a quick fix, noting that there are several vessels around the world currently that would be ideal for this purpose.
Looking to the future he said that as far as capacity is concerned, “everything below 8,000-m3 is a waste of your time,” noting the trend toward increasing vessel sizes. He added that there are an interesting cluster of vessels around this size that can both bunker LNG and be used as an LNG distribution carrier.
Responding to a question on future fuels, he said “I don’t see the internal combustion [engine] going anywhere,” noting that battery solutions are unlikely to handle intercontinental journeys. He said he sees a shift in emphasis from low sulphur and low-NOx fuels toward low carbon solutions. “LNG will be one of many fuels,” he added.