The LNG supply chain is extending into the small-scale terminal sector in much the way
that the global oil depot network began to evolve 50-60 years ago, creating the string of
coastal oil installations that is so familiar today.
Bringing LNG to remote locations poses logistics challenges but natural gas' ready
availability, competitive price and clean-burning qualities are driving the terminal network
Readers of LNG World Shipping will be familiar with the rapid pace of developments at
the nascent small-scale end of the LNG supply chain. Here, we catch up with the latest
developments in small-scale LNG terminals and bunkering stations.
North and Baltic Seas lead from the front
Small-scale LNG was born in the busy ports that line the North and Baltic Sea emission-
control areas (ECAs) and new project launches and commissionings continue to make
Weeks after inaugurating its loading-arm-based LNG bunkering station in Stavanger's
Risavika harbour Fjord Line opened a second fuelling station for its gas-powered cruise
ferries Stavangerfjord and Bergensfjord, at Hirtshals in northern Denmark.
The ferry berth at Hirtshals has a 500m3 cylindrical LNG storage tank, supplied using
cryogenic road tankers.
Fjord Line also plans to assist LNG bunkering in the Danish port, as HMN Gashandel
and the Port of Hirtshals Authority are building a small liquefaction plant and storage
tanks for up to 5,000m3 of LNG. Gas will be sourced from the Danish sector of the North
Sea and the terminal is expected to be in operation by 2017.
Fjord Line's jetty-mounted loading arm at Risvika is linked to the Skangas liquefaction
plant by a 750m LNG pipeline. Skangas expects to make 35,000 tonnes of LNG available
as marine bunkers in Risavika this year, most for Fjord Line. Risavika harbour authority
and Skangas are developing a second quay in the port for LNG bunkering. Click here to
Gasum charters Anthony Veder LNG carrier
At the beginning of July, Finland-based Gasum, the parent company of Skangas,
announced it would charter the 18,000m3 LNG carrier recently ordered by Anthony
Veder at Jos Meyer's Neptun Werft shipyard in Germany.
Scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2017, the ice-class 1A Super tanker is set
to transport LNG to two Finnish LNG terminals that are under construction at Tahkolu-
oto in Pori, due for completion in 2016, and Röyttä in Tornio, to be commissioned in
2018. Cargoes will be sourced from the Skangas liquefaction plant in Risavika and from
Tornio's northern location, at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, necessitated the ice class
1A Super specification for the Anthony Veder newbuilding. The group will also take
another new Veder LNG vessel. The Dutch shipowner has ordered Coralius, a 5,800m3
bunker tanker, at the Royal Bodewes yard in the Netherlands in tandem with Sirius
Shipping of Sweden.
Skangas has chartered the ship to supply fuel to gas-powered ships in the Skaggerak
and Kattegat straits between Sweden and Denmark from February 2017.
LNG-Gorskaya develops Baltic LNG supply chain
LNG-Gorskaya has emerged as another future supplier of LNG bunker fuel in the Baltic.
The Russian company has ordered three 7,300m3 LNG bunkering and coastal
distribution tankers at United Shipbuilding Corp (USC), the first LNG carriers of any
type ordered at a Russian shipyard. The first is due to enter service in early 2017.
The vessels will distribute LNG in the Gulf of Finland and the eastern Baltic from a barge-
mounted liquefaction terminal to be positioned at Gorskaya near St Petersburg able to
produce 0.42 million tonnes of LNG per annum (mta).
However, the company plans to triple the output potential of its facility to 1.26 mta in
stages, adding two barge-mounted plants. Click here to read more
Estonia approves LNG-receiving terminal at Tallinn
The government of Estonia has given permission to the port of Tallinn to construct a
small LNG-receiving terminal in Muuga harbour. The facility, built in tandem with Vopak
LNG, will primarily offer ship bunkering.
Estonia and Finland planned to build a common major LNG import terminal, linked by a
trans-Gulf subsea pipeline, but have put this on the back burner. The US$22 million
Muuga terminal should be operational by early 2017.
North Sea LNG
New LNG terminal and bunkering developments are planned at Eemshaven in the
Netherlands, Antwerp in Belgium and Teesport in the UK.
In July the 3,000m3 Sefarina, the new Chemgas dual-fuel coastal LPG tanker, took on
LNG in Eemshaven's Beatrixhaven port zone, the first LNG bunkering operation at
Antwerp plans a permanent LNG bunkering facility and hopes to have the third party
depot in operation by the beginning of 2019.
The UK is not as advanced in providing LNG bunkering facilities as its North Sea
neighbours, but Shell has begun to bunker the LNG-powered Anthony Veder ethylene
carriers Coral Sticho and Coral Star on Teesside in the northeast, using road tanker
deliveries. The 4,700m3, dual-fuel pair are on charter to Sabic for North Sea ethylene
The measure is temporary until Sabic commissions a dedicated jetty and in-house LNG
bunkering at Teesside in the fourth quarter of this year.
LNG came onto the radar for Gibraltar in September 2014 when the government of the
British Overseas Territory signed a memorandum of understanding with Shell covering
supply of cargoes for a proposed LNG-receiving terminal.
The plan was for a facility on the Detached Mole to supply regasified LNG to a Gibraltar
power station to be built at North Mole.
A concerned party commissioned Lloyd's Register to assess the risks and benefits of gas
power, associated infrastructure and bunkering in Gibraltar. That study, which has just
been made public, examined the risks involved with proposals for two locations of LNG
offloading and storage tanks: North Mole Western Arm near the cruise terminal and
Detached Mole. It did not address LNG bunkering.
LR concluded that both proposals presented relatively high risks. However, it also said
that major risks could probably be obviated with modifications to the technical
specifications and by repositioning the tanks. There are also opportunities to assess
other options or locations for Gibraltar.
LR said its findings into a specific tank-siting proposal should in no way prejudice the
broader opportunities to reduce harmful air emissions and to support commercial LNG
activities and LNG bunkering in Gibraltar.
Slovenia port wins bunker-supply grant
The Port of Koper in Slovenia has won a grant of US$325,000 to study what
infrastructure it needs to supply LNG and alternative energy products to customers. The
award comes from the European Union's Innovation & Networks Executive Agency
(INEA), successor organisation to the Trans-European Transport Network Executive
Agency (TEN-T EA).
The port authority will engage Istrabenz Plini, which operates an LPG filling station in
Koper, to assess the options.
North America out of the starting blocks
North America's coastal waters are designated an emission-control area and this, plus
plentiful supplies of cheap gas following the shale revolution, is driving the use of LNG as
The first US and Canadian LNG bunkering facilities have become operational in recent
weeks and many others are under development.
In Canada Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) has put its new dual-fuel ferry FA
Gauthier into service and bunkered the vessel for the first time at Matane on the south
shore of St Lawrence Seaway.
LNG for the ferry came from Gaz Metro's liquefaction plant in Montreal, 550km up river.
It was trucked to the jettyside transfer station by LNG-fuelled cryogenic tank trailers
operated by Transport Robert.
FA Gauthier serves on the Matane-Baie Comeau-Godbout routes linking ports 60km
apart on the north and south banks of the St Lawrence.
The 12,000 gt passenger/car ferry has two 250m3 LNG bunker tanks and the gas-fuelling
operation requires five deliveries per week by Transport Robert's 55m3 LNG road
tankers, or approximately 255 truckloads per year.
STQ will introduce two smaller, LNG-powered, ice class ferries on its Tadoussac-Baie-
Sainte-Catherine crossing at the mouth of Saguenay fjord. Gaz Metro and Transport
Robert will also supply the LNG for this bunkering operation, 470km down river from
Several small-scale liquefaction plants are to be built near the company's ferry routes.
Sysgaz plans to build renewable LNG (R-LNG) production plants in the Saguenay-Lac-
Saint-Jean, Trois-Rivières and Québec regions over the next four years.
It plans six plants to produce an aggregate 75 tonnes, or between three and four road
tanker loads, of LNG per day from landfill gas. Sysgaz has signed an exclusive licence
with SINTEF of Norway to use the latter's Mini-LNG liquefaction technology.
Port Fourchon finds its feet as a bunkering hub
The first US LNG bunker terminal was built by Harvey Gulf International Marine at its
home base in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The shipowner recently put the 5,250 dwt
Harvey Energy, the first of six dual-fuel offshore support vessels (OSVs), into service in
the US Gulf.
Harvey Energy and two others have been chartered by Shell. By late June the vessel
had been operating for approximately three months and had bunkered 25 times with LNG
using direct truck-to-ship transfers on the jetty at Port Fourchon, to run almost exclusively
Port Fourchon has come into its own as a dedicated LNG bunkering depot,
commissioning a US$25 million shore-to-ship bunkering facility to fuel vessels from
storage tanks via a cryogenic pipeline.
The Harvey Gulf terminal has two fuelling stations, each with three 340m3 horizontal,
cylindrical, pressure vessel storage tanks, replenished by road tanker until deliveries
launch via coastal LNG carrier.
US-built LNG boxship starts sea trials
Isla Bella, the first US-built LNG-fuelled containership and the world's first such vessel, is
undergoing sea and gas trials this month. The 3,100 teu vessel, built at the GD Nassco
yard in San Diego, enters service with TOTE's Sea Star Line later this year, has two
900m3 LNG bunker tanks.
The gas trials require 20 road tanker loads of LNG, about 45 per cent of the vessel's
bunker capacity, from the Clean Energy LNG liquefaction plant at Boron, California.
Isla Bella will proceed to Florida to serve the route connecting Jacksonville with San Juan
in Puerto Rico. The Sea Star Line link will be augmented early next year by an LNG-
LNG bunkering in Jacksonville will initially be carried out by Applied Cryo Technologies
using 25 ISO tank containers and shipments sourced from neighbouring Georgia,
pending completion of a liquefaction plant in the port by WesPac Marine and Pivotal
Asia expands its small-scale infrastructure
Several Asian nations plan their own small-scale LNG and bunkering terminals, even
though the region has no ECA regime yet. Several commercial and environmental
considerations underpin these efforts, including a global sulphur cap on ship emissions at
some stage over the next decade.
In July South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said that several of the
country's major ports will build LNG bunkering stations, complemented by LNG bunker
vessels and coastal distribution tankers.
South Korea plans to have its first LNG bunkering terminal in service at Tongyeong by
2017 and a second in Busan by 2018, with similar facilities to follow in Gwangyang,
Boryeong and Incheon.
Singapore invites bunkering bids
Singapore also hopes to establish a major presence as a gas fuelling centre. The
Maritime Port Authority (MPA) is seeking bids from companies to supply LNG
bunkering. It has asked participants for details of their proposed bunkering supply and
delivery model, LNG sources and marketing plans for selling LNG to customers in
The MPA hopes to launch a pilot programme in 2017 with up to six LNG-fuelled vessels,
and expects the successful bidders for a licence to supply LNG bunkers to join in this test
phase. It aims to launch full-scale LNG bunkering by 2020.
Singapore has 60 licensed suppliers of marine fuel oil and marine gasoil bunkers and
sells an average 3.5 million tonnes of oil fuel to ships each month.
Equatorial Guinea delivers an LNG breakthrough for Africa
Africa has announced the first switch from fuel oil to LNG for power generation, with a
changeover at Equatorial Guinea's small 24MW Bata thermal power plant. Liquefied
gas will be loaded into ISO tank containers at Punta Europa LNG export terminal and
transported to Bata.
This may be the first of many similar projects in West Africa. LNG tank containers can be
transported by sea, road and rail to isolated communities and industrial complexes
equipped with small or medium-sized regasification facilities.
On-demand purchase of LNG shipments will obviate the need for oil imports and improve
control over energy costs. A growing commitment to an LNG-distribution infrastructure
will also support the use of gas as a transport fuel in the region.