LNG Capesizes could run Australia to China route

A Joint industry project (JIP) signed recently in Singapore between BHP Billiton, Mitsui OSK Lines, Rio Tinto, SDARI, Woodside, and DNV GL will seek to capitalize on this opportunity to drive the development of the LNG fuel market, given new regulations on limiting sulphur and nitrogen oxides emissions “and a burgeoning global infrastructure”, classification society DNV GL said on Wednesday.

The JIP is named “Green Corridor” and will assess the commercial potential of LNG fuelled vessels on a route between Australian and China, culminating in the creation of a next generation Capesize design that will undergo Approval in Principle (AiP) under the new DNV GL rules.

“As we approach the entry into force date for sulphur emissions, we are seeing interest in LNG as a ship fuel start to climb again,” says Morten Lovstad, DNV GL – Maritime Business Director Bulk Carriers. “As one of the largest LNG exporters in the world and with bunkering infrastructure coming online, Australia is well placed to support the bulk trade on the west coast with LNG as fuel. By working together with some of the industry’s technology leaders we are confident this new project has the potential to deliver a competitive, compliant and safe vessel and the business case to back it up.”

The JIP has two main objectives – building and assessing the business case of LNG as fuel for Capesize bulkers operating in the trade between Australia and China, and developing an efficient LNG-fuelled Capesize concept design. The financial and technical feasibility study examines a LNG-fuelled Capesize bulker operating from Australia. It will look at capital costs, operational costs and price sensitivities in terms of LNG and low sulphur marine fuel oils when compared with a conventionally fuelled vessel and with a LNG retrofit. It will also undertake a high-level bunker supply chain assessment to identify the key issues affecting the vessel design and business case.

The project partners will work to develop a concept design for an efficient LNG fuelled Capesize vessel. The ship will be optimized for operations from and to Australia, and will be developed to a technical stage so that it may achieve an Approval in Principle (AiP) in compliance with the new DNV GL rules.

The JIP was signed in Singapore by Chen Gang, Technical Manager from SDARI; Toshiaki Tanaka, Executive Officer, Deputy Director General, Dry Bulk Business Unit from Mitsui OSK Lines; Steen Lund, Regional Manager South East Asia, India and Pacific for DNV GL – Maritime; Mike Utsler, Chief Operating Officer from Woodside Energy; Abdes Karimi, Freight Operations Manager from BHP Billiton; and David O’Brien, Freight Manager from Rio Tinto Marine.