It is already a consolidated career. Overcome the dilemma of whether the infrastructure was needed first or finding a real demand for mobilizing the gas market as a maritime fuel, shipping companies, administrations, ports, shipyards and gas plants promoted in parallel numerous projects to grow a business that, although it is a minority, it is becoming a reality and it is driving a revolution in the sector. The wave that moves this change will convert the regasification into logistic centres, shipyards will be immersed in another production line, new infrastructure on the docks will be available and less polluting ships will be provided to the owners.
The background that drove the first steps in this market were the environmental obligations of the European Union, the so-called ACE areas -emission control areas- and its objectives for 2020 of reducing emissions. "This trend is unstoppable. There is no turning back. It is a tremendous boost to our industry, and Spain is part of a privileged position in Europe, with six gas plants which could meet half of the Community demand thanks to their capacity”, says Manuel Lage, general secretary of Gasnam, the Spanish Association of Natural Gas for Mobility.
The figures indicate that the trip to generalize as marine fuel CNG has already begun. "In Spain there are orders to build 48 merchants. Fifteen of them are already running and seven -three tugboats, two ferries and two cable-lying vessels- will work thanks to LNG," Lage said.
In the area, the possible developments in the price of gas are being observed in detail, which suggest that this method could be cheaper than diesel and fuel. Taking into account that all the technology for the storage, distribution and use of engines in ships is already approved, "every shipping company interested in ordering a new construction, especially to operate in European or North American traffic, is already considering and evaluating this alternative technically and economically, and even some of them are studying the possibility of repowering existing ships” says Manuel Carlier, CEO of Anave, Spanish Shipowners Association.
For the employer, the medium term duties are clear. "A fundamental aspect of the task to be undertaken by the States is to enable the technical and administrative rules approbation as soon as possible for companies or consortia interested in setting up supply points in ports, either by tanker, container, barge or by any other means, to be done so as soon as possible and in conditions of free competition”, Carlier said.
Measures have also been taken at the administrative level. "All around the world, there is no rule that says how LNG supply to ships may be done, but we have completed a project in that sense, and divested to Aenor to be continued by themselves and make a Spanish rule out of this”, Manuel Lage says. This fact was not an obstacle for the supplies of LNG which are already being carried out to ships in Spanish ports. One of the first ones was the port of Vigo, although there are only tankers by the moment, the docks have been provided with incentives to attract the ships using this fuel.
Congress and Senate have also targeted strategies to promote the use of gas in shipping. The State Budget for 2016 includes incentives for ships using LNG, they will pay reduced harbour dues and the scope of State guarantees for processing vessels up to 15 years has been expanded in order to be adapted to the new fuel.
Employers, associations and administrations also walk together in different European projects to deploy infrastructure, in less than fifty years that will allow ships flying to the Spanish coast with the assurance of being able to refuel gas both onshore and offshore.
Seven of the 15 vessels under construction in the country will use gas.
Galicia, a pioneer in designing supply ships
The gas plants of the country have been handling various projects to acquire new infrastructure or adapt existing ones to deliver gas directly to ships. But also ports and terminals must be able to meet the demand of LNG offshore through supply vessels. In this sense, Galicia is a pioneer in promoting the first design of a ship to supply all kinds of floats, from fishing to the container, and versatile to navigate in different areas.
Reganosa, a gas plant in Ferrol, is receiving the design of the vessel in few days, which will have capacity to transport 8,000 cubic meters of gas. But the vessel is not determined to stay there. "We will achieve real progress for our infrastructures so Mugardos could provide some of the services that are already being required" says Rodrigo Diaz, Reganosa Development Manager.
The terminal from Mugardos has made possible a green light to new infrastructure by the European Union to promote this market, including a new wharf which is also part of a community project, the Core LNGas Hive, led by State Ports and Enagas, in which 42 other partners are integrated.
Training for all operators are involved, demand studies and development of the different regulations are also part of the objectives.
Source: La Voz de Galicia