EC Funds Spanish LNG Bunkering Vessel
The European Commission (EC) is to part-fund the first ship to be wholly dedicated to the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Spanish port of Algeciras, its partner, gas transmission system operator Enagas, said December 22.
The initiative is part of the 'LNGhive2' strategy, led by Puertos del Estado, and the European Union's transport aid programme Connecting Europe Facilities (CEF), which will finance a fifth of the cost. The objective is to support the development of the LNG market as a sustainable maritime fuel, in line with the European Directive 94/2014 on alternative fuels, Enagas said.
The project consists of an LNG barge with a storage capacity of 12,500 m³ to be commissioned in 2023. Once in operation, the ship will use the Enagas import terminal at Huelva to load LNG directly to end consumers or reload barges for subsequent supply to smaller ships docked in the port of Algeciras.
LNG is the cleanest fuel available for this type of mobility and contributes to improving air quality, especially in ports. It eliminates all SOx emissions, reduces NOx emissions by 80-90% and CO2 emissions by 20-30%, Enagas said.
In addition to promoting more sustainable maritime transport and improving air quality in the Bay of Algeciras, this project will mean another step towards consolidating Spain and Algeciras, Spain's busiest freight port, as a European benchmark in bunkering of LNG in the Strait of Gibraltar.
The CEF has already financed seven projects in Spain. Over €300mn ($365mn) of funding have been paid or committed by the partners of the public-private initiatives 'Core LNGas hive' and 'LNGhive2', of which about €62mn come from the EC.