Ambiguous Future for LNG?

The skepticism of liquified natural gas

Ship bunkering and fuel offloads to meet those bunkering needs are often being carried out all over the world. A tanker ship can typically carry as much as 1 million to 2 million gallons of fuel, and being able to stop either at a port or to have a bunker vessel bring combustibles to them is critical. However, the use of LNG, Liquefied Natural Gas, in the process is an ongoing thing but most shipping industry experts are skeptical about using Liquefied Natural Gas in the same way they may deliver diesel propellant.


There are several reasons for this skepticism:

Liquid natural gas
  • Lack of a developed infrastructureThere are just not enough facilities that can handle LNG across the globe, and port builders are refusing to pony up the dough to convert pots to handle liquefied gas.Lack of enough ports is considered the biggest bottleneck.
  • There are not enough personnel and safety issues aboundIn addition to the fact that there are not enough facilities, there are not enough personnel to handle tanker refuelling with liquified gas, and liquified gas as a whole has its own set of safety issues that have not been fully addressed by the industry.
  • In addition there are significant costs to the tanker owners.Tankers powered by liquified gas have to their own liquified gas tank, added piping, adapt engines, and in general this also reduces cargo space.

Never the less, in part due to the Maritime requirements that less Sulphur for profellant is being implemented, maritime shippers are looking hard at liquified gas.

But even then, it may be a short-term solution. Liquified gas does have less sulfur, so meets the technical requirements of the new regulations, however, liquified gas doesn’t really do much to reduce greenhouse gasses, and so it too could be phased out over time.

For now, the key issue is the relatively low amount of ports able to bunker liquified gas. Some of the big ports, notably Rotterdam, Panama, Montreal, Barcelona, Jacksonville, Singapore, and Yokohama offer bunker operations for liquified gas, there are far too few facilities.

Liquified natural gas as the main fuel

Liquified gas is gradually creeping up as the preferred fuel.

There are presently around 175 tanker operating on liquified gas, with another 250 on order. This among a general fleet of around 50,000 merchant tankers worldwide.

As a consequence of lack of facilities as well as a limited number of tankers operating on liquified gas it’s hard to imagine the total fleet number using liquified gas will suddenly creep up into the thousands, let alone 10,000 or more in the near future unless the world’s maritime bodies decide to significantly increase further the amount of Sulphur in marine propellant.

Change is slow, and the challenges are extremely heavy for the liquified gas industry with regard to shipping.

side of container ship

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What is Gulf Bunkering?

The purpose of Gulf Bunkering is quite simple – we are here to provide information about the shipping industry, more specifically, the bunkering industry.

Bunker oil refers to the fuel that container ships and other large vessels use. The re-fueling of such ships is called bunkering, and this is a well-planned and very important process for the whole shipping industry.

Feel free to browse through our different articles, which all aim to provide valuable information about the bunkering and shipping industry.