By Marek Grzybowski
Lower LNG prices have resulted in greater demand for gas in ports. In Rotterdam, LNG sales increased by almost 109% quarter-on-quarter, reaching 266,000 tonnes in the second quarter. m³. In Singapore, shipowners in June bunkered 17.9 thousand. m³, and in July 18.3 thousand. m³ of LNG. It is predicted that there will also be a demand for methanol, which may become the fuel of the future.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global LNG markets and pushed LNG prices to over $2,500 a ton in Rotterdam and over $2,000 a ton for a bunker in Singapore last year. However, prices have dropped significantly since then and LNG has been available at big discounts for several months now. Gas on ships again became more attractive than VLSFO, which was quickly seen in the world’s major ports, where bunker turnover reaches significant volumes.
In Rotterdam, LNG sales amounted to 112,069 m³ in Q2 2022. LNG sales in Q2 were also the highest quarterly sales volume since Q3 2021 (212,719 m³). In the first half of 2023, LNG sales amounted to 265,892 m³. For comparison, in the same period of 2022, 214,648 m³ were fueled on ships. Ship operators or ship management companies were concerned about price volatility and the possibility of using regular gas supplies.
Economic activity and bunker prices
The Port of Rotterdam Authority announced that the total sales volume of the bunker in Rotterdam (excluding lubricants) fell by 10% in the second quarter of 2023. Low sales of VLSFO were decisive.
Demand fell in the second quarter of this year. by 8% to 906,368 tonnes, which is 15% lower than in the previous year. In Q2, traditional marine fuels continued to dominate the demand, as their share reached 38% of total sales.
HSFO sales increased by 5% in the second quarter, and the share of this fuel in sales increased from 30% to 35%. Total sales volume also increased during the year, reaching an 18% increase compared to 2021 levels.
This year, for the first time, owners of dual-fuel LNG ships have an economic justification to benefit from investments in innovative power systems for new types of ship engines.
However, since for most of the 1920s the price of LNG was too high, the vast majority of operators of dual-fuel vessels used traditional marine fuel.
Gasum will reduce carbon dioxide emissions
As soon as gas became cheaper, it was also profitable to introduce a bunker to the market. In June, the tanker Kairos returned to operation as part of Gasum. It is an LNG bunkering vessel owned by Gasum. From October 2022, the shipowner directed it for use on the open market outside the company.
It is assumed that the biogas offered by Gasum will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 90 percent compared to traditional fossil fuels. “Increasing the use of bio-LNG is one of the concrete actions that will lead the shipping industry towards a low-emission future,” the company said.
“Gasum’s strategic goal is to market seven terawatt hours (7 TWh) of renewable gas annually by 2027. Achieving this goal would mean an annual cumulative reduction of 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions for Gasum customers,” the company explained.
this summer the operator carried out the first LNG bunkering operation at the port of Reykjavik, Iceland. Coral Energy’s LNG bunker supplied LNG and liquefied biogas (LBG) for the engine room of the PONANT Le Commandant Charcot cruise ship.
Time for a Polish LNG tanker bunker
The introduction of such tankers as Coral Energy and Kairos into operation in Poland was discussed on the occasion of the launch of the LNG terminal in Świnoujście. For many years, dual-fuel engines with the possibility of burning gas began to dominate the portfolios of orders for ships.
According to the latest estimates by the classification society DNV, the number of ships with dual-fuel engines and LNG systems that are in service and on order has exceeded 900 units. Kairos is a good example for a potential operator of a Polish LNG bunker.
The tanker has been designed so that it can deliver LNG to ships of various types and sizes in all possible bunkering locations in North-West Europe. The vessel can deliver LNG at pumping rates from 60 m³ per hour to 1,250 m³ per hour. Perhaps it is time to introduce the Polish LNG bunker to the Baltic market.