The industry association SEA-LNG has provided an outlook for the future of LNG bunkering, noting that DNV GL forecasts show up to 41 percent of marine fuel being LNG by 2050.
In early 2019, there were only six bunkering vessels operational around the world. As of February 2020, there are 12 in operation with a further 27 on order or under construction.
The SEA-LNG report demonstrates that many ports are investing heavily in LNG infrastructure. For example, Europe’s largest bunker port, Rotterdam nearly doubled its LNG bunkering operations in the third quarter of 2019, compared to the previous three months. This year, Rotterdam will have seven or eight bunker vessels in operation. The port expects growth to reach a million tonnes by 2025-2030, which would be around 10 percent of all bunker fuels sold in the port.
Nauticor’s 7,500 cbm Kairos, currently the largest operational LNG-bunkering vessel, started LNG bunkering early in 2019 in the Port of Visby, Sweden.
Titan LNG completed the largest LNG bunkering in the world to date when it supplied over 3,000 metric tonnes of LNG to the semi-sub crane vessel Sleipnir in Singapore last year.
In North America, at Eagle LNG’s Talleyrand LNG Bunker Station at the Port of Jacksonville, three LNG powered cargo ships, the first two from Tote Maritime Puerto Rico and the third from Crowley Maritime, already sail regular voyages supported by LNG bunkering at the port by both barge and shore-based methods.
In Japan, Toho Gas Co. and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) conducted the first LNG bunkering at a major Japanese port - the Port of Nagoya. LNG was supplied with a truck-to-ship system to the LNG-fuelled tug, Ishin.
Looking to the future, Singapore is LNG bunkering ready, and the Maritime Port Authority expects the first of its two LNG bunker vessels to be operational from the second half of 2020 onwards. A steel cutting ceremony has already been held for what will be Singapore’s largest LNG bunkering vessel. Built by Sembcorp Marine for MOL, the vessel will be Singapore's second bunkering vessel and is expected to be operational in 2021.
DNG Energy will provide LNG bunkers in Algoa Bay, South Africa’s largest bunkering port, from the second quarter of 2020.
Keppel Offshore & Marine is building an ice-class LNG bunker vessel commissioned by Shturman Koshelev and due for delivery in late 2020. The vessel will be chartered to Gazprom Neft for operations in the Baltic Sea.
Total’s first LNG bunker vessel will be delivered in 2020. The 135-meter-long vessel will supply LNG to ultra-large container-ships in the Europe-Asia trade, including 300,000 tons per year for CMA CGM’s nine ultra-large newbuild container ships sailing the Europe-Asia trade.
Shell will charter an articulated tug barge when it enters service in early 2020 to bunker ships in various ports in Florida and the U.S. southeast, including two 180,000 gt Carnival ships of and two Volkswagen PCTCs sailing from Europe.
More vessels are planned, and Vard Marine recently completed the concept design of a new 5,400 cbm LNG bunker barge expected to be delivered in November 2021 for Polaris New Energy’s bunkering operations on the east coast of the U.S.
The British Columbia Government has joined Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and FortisBC to establish the first ship-to-ship LNG marine bunkering facility on the west coast of North America.
Additionally, Australia’s largest LNG producer Woodside Energy is tendering for an LNG bunkering vessel.