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    BC to Explore LNG Bunkering Potential

Summary

Proponents seek expansion from current shore-side bunkering service

by: Dale Lunan

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BC to Explore LNG Bunkering Potential

The government of BC, gas utility FortisBC and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority said October 23 they would work to establish the first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering service on North America’s west coast.

“We are confident in BC’s ability to join the global network of ports that deliver clean-burning LNG direct to the ships of the future,” BC premier John Horgan said. “This will allow BC to have a direct impact on global emissions by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from visiting vessels.”

Initial findings from a study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for FortisBC show that a five-year construction period for LNG bunkering infrastructure could facilitate the creation of a cumulative 14,000 full-time equivalent person years of employment over the duration of the build and contribute a cumulative C$1.8bn (US$1.4bn) to the province’s gross domestic product. Once fully operational, a bunkering industry could have an annual economic impact of $930mn and create about 3,170 full-time equivalent person years of employment.

LNG-powered ships – mainly container, car carrier and cruise vessels – could begin calling in Vancouver as early as 2020, and global demand for marine LNG is expected to reach 9mn mt/yr (about 23mn m3) by 2025.

“BC should be ready to get some of that business,” jobs, trade and technology minister Bruce Ralston said.

BC has been in the LNG bunkering business since 2017, and five vessels operated by BC Ferries and two cargo ferries operated by Seaspan are being fuelled by FortisBC using shore-side truck-to-ship facilities. This proposal would expand to develop ship-to-ship bunkering so that large vessels can be fuelled from a fuelling vessel that fills up at an on-shore jetty at Tilbury Island on the Fraser River, where FortisBC operates a 37mn ft3/day liquefaction facility.

At NGW’s Canadian Gas Dialogues conference in Calgary earlier this year, Brent Graham, manager of government relations and public policy at FortisBC, said the ability to take LNG from the shore to a vessel for refuelling was the “missing link” in the LNG bunkering value chain in BC’s Lower Mainland.