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LNG’s role in cleaner marine transport

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LNG Industry,

The International Gas Union (IGU) has released a new report on the crucial role of LNG in enabling cleaner marine transport – currently a major cause of human health and environmental costs.

Unveiled at today’s G20 Energy Sustainability Working Group, the latest report highlights the detrimental impact of marine transport on air quality levels, emphasising the positive role LNG can play in combatting these impacts as an alternative and cleaner fuel for shipping.

Urban air pollution has become a top priority for local, national, and international governments in both developed and developing countries. Marine transportation is an often overlooked contributor to negative air quality levels – with one large container ship, powered by 3% sulfur bunker fuel, emitting the same amount of sulfur oxide gases, as 50 million diesel-burning cars.

In Hong Kong, ship traffic is responsible for half of the city’s total toxic pollutants – more so than those produced by the power generation and transportation sectors. In the world’s top 100 ports, roughly 230 million people are exposed directly to the harmful emissions produced by shipping.

These emissions also create significant economic costs, with emissions of PM2.5, SO2 and NOx produced by shipping in the world’s 50 largest ports costing authorities €12 Billion annually. In Spain alone the country’s 13 key ports cost an estimated €206million. In Bergen, Norway, the emissions of ships at berth in the port are estimated to cost the city between €10 – 22 million.

The use of LNG in marine transport can deliver significant environmental, economic and social benefits. These include reductions in emissions of harmful pollutants, including up to 90% reductions in sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions, 29% reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and 85% reductions in PM levels. In addition, a switch to LNG fuel can generate substantial monetary savings for operators through fuel costs, as well as benefiting local infrastructure through investments and jobs.

Strong policy responses are needed to make this switch a reality. Armed with the latest supporting data, and various global case studies, the report outlines a number of recommendations for G20 Governments:

  • Increasing regulation of emissions from marine transport.
  • Identifying and eliminating gaps in existing regulatory frameworks.
  • Facilitating better access to financing for the switch to LNG.
  • Funding LNG technology development and first-mover deployments.

The recommendations above go a long way to tackling existing barriers to the more rapid deployment of LNG-fulled ships, which the report identifies primarily as: a confusing regulatory landscape; gaps in emissions controls; regional inconsistencies; lack of clarity in future policy direction; as well as commercial barriers, such as access to capital and cost uncertainties.

“The case for using LNG fuel for shipping is clear. It will provide significant improvement to our quality of life by dramatically reducing air pollution. It will also support climate change goals by reducing greenhouse gases. We need effective policy change to encourage a switch to LNG,” said David Carroll, President of the IGU. “This report, and our recent reports on urban air quality, demonstrates the key role natural gas plays in tackling the issue of air pollution and improving the quality of people’s lives.”

Read the article online at:

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