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Measuring the impact of the LNG supply chain

Wed 06 Mar 2019 by John Snyder

Measuring the impact of the LNG supply chain
Andrew Clifton (SIGTTO): “The credibility of natural gas … hinges on demonstrating transparency and reductions in methane emissions across the supply chain”

SIGTTO general manager Andrew Clifton discusses a new project that will help determine the cost-effectiveness of emissions-reducing technology

As SIGTTO prepares to celebrate its 40th birthday in 2019, it is now well settled into its new London liaison office. The new premises have exceeded all expectations and I am confident our new location will serve SIGTTO well for many years to come.

One very important project we are currently involved with concerns methane emissions from LNG vessels. Working with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Imperial College London, Enagás and the National Physical Laboratory, this project aims to provide industry with the crucial measurement tools and the modelling necessary to determine the impact which the LNG supply chain has on the environment. It will also help determine the cost-effectiveness of methods to minimise emissions and reduce uncertainty across the supply chain – with our focus clearly being on LNG shipping.

The three areas to be assessed will be propulsion, operations and fugitive emissions.

The project aims to answer the following questions:

• What are the methane emissions from selected stages of the LNG supply chain?

• What are the key technological and operational factors that affect emissions?

• By how much can emissions be cost-effectively minimised?

The projects four work packages are: WP1 - Emissions inventory assessment; WP2 - Measurement ships; WP3 - Modelling emissions; and WP4 - Determining cost-effective emissions minimisation.

The current LNG carrier fleet varies significantly with respect to age, size, storage, efficiency and propulsion technologies, all of which will impact upon emissions profiles.

To achieve a representative sample, multiple measurement studies will be made across different ships, as well as different stages of operational modes, such as laden and ballast passages.

As this is a first-of-a-kind study, using mixed methods to measure methane emissions from ships, the design of the measurement system may require refinement, with the lessons learnt used to reduce cost and increase effectiveness.

The credibility of natural gas and its role in decarbonising energy systems hinges on demonstrating transparency and reducing methane emissions across the global gas supply chain. This project provides a unique academic-industrial collaboration to measure methane emissions from LNG transport, modelling the key sources and their variability to provide sound evidence. This evidence will help determine potential minimisation targets via the most cost-effective solutions. SIGTTO, with its members and the project partners, is facilitating the measuring of these crucial emissions, with the first vessels hoping to be visited this summer.

Upcoming events

Because our industry is staging two global events in 2019 – LNG 2019 in Shanghai in April and Gastech 2019 in Houston in September – SIGTTO will not have a Panel Meeting this year.

“This project provides a unique academic-industrial collaboration to measure methane emissions from LNG transport”

SIGTTO will hold its 79 General Purposes Committee meeting (GPC 79) in Shanghai in April in conjunction with LNG 2019, while GPC 80 will take place in Houston in September, in tandem with the Gastech event. I will be chairing the conference shipping sessions at both LNG 2019 and Gastech 2019. I am also pleased to have been appointed co-chair of the Gastech technical committee.

We also intend to hold 12 regional forums over the course of this year, with details on our website once available.

Finally, we are looking forward to an extra-special occasion: on 10 September we will be holding a Liquefied Gas Shipping Forum followed by a reception in London to celebrate SIGTTO’s 40 anniversary. The Society, which was formally established in October 1979, will also produce a special 100-page publication to commemorate the event.

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