COMMERCIAL NEWS - Companies co-operate to promote LNG marine fuel

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Wartsila and Tidewater say natural gas propulsion has environmental and cost-saving benefits for shipping and commercial operations

Two major commercial marine companies have agreed to exchange and share technical and economic information related to the cost and environmental implications associated with the use of LNG (liquefied natural gas) as a marine fuel.

Marine propulsion and solutions provider Wärtsilä and Tidewater, a supplier of marine support services for the offshore energy industry, both view gas-fuelled marine engines as being a logical means for ship owners and operators to comply with increasingly stringent environmental legislation. The use of gas also has the potential for lowering fuel-related operating costs, they add.

The two companies have agreed to exchange and share technical and economic information related to the cost and environmental implications associated with the use of LNG as a marine fuel. In particular, the co-operation will cover the possible use of gas engines in a range of vessels used in offshore oil and gas applications, including Offshore Service Vessels (OSVs), Platform Supply Vessels (PSVs), Fast Supply Vessels (FSVs), offshore tugs, terminal escort tugs, and Anchor Handling Towing Supply (AHTS) vessels.

Wärtsilä said it plays an influential role in the development of gas as a marine fuel and in LNG-fuelled ship-engine technology, including dual-fuels that allow the same engine to be operated on both gas and diesel.

"This dual-fuel capability means that when running in gas mode, the environmental impact is minimized since nitrogen oxides (NOx) are reduced by some 85 per cent compared to diesel operation, sulphur oxide(SOx) emissions are completely eliminated as LNG contains no sulphur, and emissions of CO2 are also considerably lowered. Natural gas has no residuals, and thus the production of particulates is also practically non-existent," said the Wartsila press release.

"In addition to the environmental benefits that LNG fuel offers, the shipping industry is increasingly looking to gas as a means of reducing operating costs. With fossil fuel prices, and especially the cost of low-carbon marine fuel, likely to continue to escalate, gas is an obvious economic alternative."

In promoting gas propulsion, the two companies said they will aim at exploring all the benefits and challenges associated with LNG fuel, at sharing their findings and thoughts with the market and thereby accelerating its acceptance.

"Wärtsilä has a strong competitive edge in this field, and we are pleased to share our considerable experience and know-how with progressive fleet operators, such as Tidewater, so that both parties can reap the benefits of using LNG-fuelled propulsion machinery," says Arnauld Filancia, director Communications & Branding, Middle East and Asia, Wärtsilä Corporation.

"Being a major operator in the offshore oil and gas sector, we are exploring all possible ways of reducing the environmental impact of this work. At the same time, we see LNG as a means to address rising fuel and maintenance costs and we are, therefore, delighted to team-up with Wärtsilä in order to accelerate the acceptance of LNG as a marine fuel," says Nelson Greer, vice president of Tidewater Corporate Services.

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