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LNG Conference 2018 concludes in Helsinki

June 13/ 13:10

Helsinki. Around 80 delegates gathered in Helsinki during last week’s LNG Conference 2018, to discuss the state of the industry, innovative tech and LNG in comparison to other alternative fuels among other topics. The event, hosted by Port of Helsinki and Tallink, was held on 7-8/6/2018 at the Helsinki City Hall and onboard Tallink’s LNG fueled “Megastar” ferry.

The event, divided into two days, tackled a wide spectrum of topics currently relevant to the development of the LNG market in Europe and the Baltic, while at the same time taking into account the situation on the global scene.

DAY 1 kicked off with an opening speech by Ville Haapasaari, CEO of the Port of Helsinki, underlining the need for LNG to be comprehensively available. This is especially important, considering the complexity of the fuel market’s future, with a multitude of solutions being available and many stakeholders still undecided as to which path they should take. Therefore, standards must be set well above the minimum level.

Eero Vanaale of Royal HaskoningDHV, the moderator for the day, was next to take the stage and deliver the first keynote speech. He presented a detailed market overview, taking into consideration the shifts in demand and supply. Should the market continue growing at the projected pace, we might see an undersupply in mid 2020s, with trade expansion driven by projects in countries such as the US, Quatar, Mozambique or Russia.

According to Chart Industries, the growing energy demand will pose a chance for the LNG industry and allow it to play a significant role. Still, it remains difficult to foresee how governments and countries will respond to new LNG projects, making it one of the key risks for new enterprises.

LNG bunkering was also mentioned, in particular the fact that it isn’t really a game changer. A view shared by many of the speakers, including Mark Bell of SGMF, stating that the maritime industry, which has been considering LNG as a possible future fuel for a while now, is but a small dot on the world LNG agenda.

Speaking of the maritime sector, there is significant momentum expected with oil tankers and cruise ships shifting to LNG as fuel, according to GTT’s findings. IMO’s Sulphur Cap 2020 is certainly having an impact on the seafaring industry and shipowners, as is the broader access to LNG supply.

Safety was another key item in many of the presentations, among them Skangas’. In an examination of the intricacies of designing a small scale LNG supply chain, safety, cost efficiency and stability were named as the most important factors. The need for more off-take has been cited, in order to validate further development, with an increase in throughput necessary to continue cutting costs. 

LNG bunkering guidance was the topic of EMSA’s presentation, elaborating on the topic of safety of bunkering operations. A number of challenges linked to the preparation of such a document has been stated, as well as the fact that risk assessment has to be as independent as possible from various LNG solutions. An increase in safety has been promised in Valmet Automation’s speech, demonstrating their all-in-one system for enhancing bunkering operations. The system’s target is to cut costs and raise security levels, thus making LNG more affordable.

After a wonderful evening cocktail, the delegates boarded Tallink’s LNG fueled “Megastar” ferry for the second day of the conference. Representatives of Tallink started the day sharing with the audience their experience with bunkering operations and ways to optimize the process. Tallink’s LNG supplier, Eesti Gaas, was also there to offer an insight into their future plans.

Before embarking on the study tour, which took the participants to the ship’s engine room and bunkering station, the delegates had a chance to take a closer look at a LNG behavior tools suite, designed for small scale LNG applications and developed by ENGIE.

The day ended with an examination of the difficulties and challenges still ahead of the maritime industry in its quest to employ LNG as fuel on a much broader scale. The presentation, delivered by Containerships, was followed by a representative of Deltamarin, offering one possible solution, namely retrofitting of ships. While it can certainly pose a valid strategy for many shipowners, there are issues that need to be taken into consideration, one of them being the space taken up by the LNG installation.

The conference, organized by Actia Forum, was sponsored by Skangas, GTT, GMA Petroleum, Stirling Cryogenics, Novatek Poland, Chart Industries and Valmet Automation.

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