Since the topic of LNG as a marine fuel really took off, I’d say some two years ago, the industry speakers have developed a few mantras; they always refer to the chicken and egg situation that we are facing. Everybody has heard it so many times now, that they all know what it means: the LNG bunkering availability can’t develop before there are enough ships asking for LNG, and LNG fuelled ships can’t be ordered before there are LNG bunkering available to them. You also hear quotes like “everybody is sitting on the fence, waiting for someone else to take the first step”.
Well, dear industry colleagues, it is time to stop recycling old powerpoint slides, look up from your keyboards, and get updated on all the things that are actually happening. Because the above statements about chicken and egg are simply not correct anymore.
Over the past year, we have seen these developments:
- The worlds largest bunkering hub, Singapore, has communicated clear ambitions for supplying LNG in 2014 at the latest
- Almost all large North European ports have communicated plans for LNG availability within 2013-2014: Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Hamburg, and several more
- All the ports, and their respective port authorities are demonstrating action – it is not just talk
- One year ago the oil & gas majors were not interested. The volumes were too small they said. Since then they have clearly done the math, and more or less all of them now indicate quite significant interest in this growing market
- Risk analysis and operational procedures are being developed for various places, and they will all be pulled together in a ISO standard for LNG bunkering to be published in draft format by the end of the year – that is probably a world record in fast development of an international standard
- Various small players are lurking around looking for their angle in the LNG supply and bunkering business
- The first speculative order for a LNG bunker barge will probably be placed soon (my prediction)
What more can you ask for? This is developing like a wild fire in most corners of the world! So please stop referring to the chicken and egg situation and how much it slows down progress.