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24-09-2015

Green Credentials of LNG Bunkers Questioned

A University of Delaware professor said that more attention needed to be made to the amount of GHG released during natural gas extraction.

The environmental soundness of using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel is being brought into question after a new report highlighted concerns over how LNG itself is\u00a0extracted from the ground, processed, distributed, and used, the University of Delaware announced this week.\u00a0

University of Delaware professor\u00a0James Corbett, who has spent 15 years working on environmental policy in global shipping, found in his latest report that although using LNG would reduce marine emissions, there was little infrastructure in place to minimize greenhouse gases during the natural gas extraction process.\u00a0

\u201cLocal and regional air pollution benefits of liquefied natural gas are a slam-dunk over traditional marine fuels, and the long run price of LNG looks to be advantageous," he said.

"But LNG was not a clear winner for climate change with regard to greenhouse gas implications, especially if the fuel supply infrastructure is not designed to minimize natural gas losses.\u201d

Corbett added that a well-managed transition to LNG a as marine fuel would require a "carefully constructed infrastructure development policy," noting that the only scenarios where LNG proved to be environmentally superior to normal diesel-powered ships were when there was low-greenhouse gas LNG infrastructure in place, and advanced combustion technologies to reduce methane leakage.

LNG has so far been widely regarded as a way to cut emissions from the shipping sector, though uptake has so far been slow, initially\u00a0due to the lack of widespread LNG infrastructure, and more recently due to plummeting oil prices reducing the gas price advantage.

However In June, Ship & Bunker reported that tighter sulfur caps were expected to hasten the adoption of LNG bunkers.


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