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Australia’s first LNG bunkering is new energy territory

Kleenheat’s in the business of energising Western Australian households, but an Australian first from EVOL LNG in the state’s north-west is new energy territory.

On 23 January, in agreement with Woodside, EVOL LNG successfully refuelled the platform supply vessel Siem Thiima at King Bay Supply Base near Dampier.

It might sound simple, but the LNG (liquefied natural gas) refuelling process – known as bunkering – involved the design and fabrication of complex systems to international standards. The success helps position WA as the nation’s leader in cleaner shipping fuel for marine vessels.

For most of us at Kleenheat, this milestone was energy supply on a whole different scale. But for EVOL LNG Business Manager Nick Rea it was only the beginning.

“For EVOL, entering the bunkering market is all about focusing on the environmental and economic benefits of LNG as a transport fuel,” Nick said.

“It’s clear the LNG marine fuel market is still developing, but we have more than 15 years’ experience distributing LNG and saw an opportunity to provide services that perhaps others can’t.”

Cleaner energy is big business

Just as WA households look for ways to lower their energy costs, businesses across the world are seeking new ways to reduce their operating costs and environmental footprint.

Growing demand for lower emission fuels has seen an increase in the number of LNG-fuelled ships over the past 10 years. From initially just a handful, there are now more than 75 in operation with another and 80 planned in the next three years.

Nick said the growth had been driven significantly by International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations.

“Interest in LNG as a marine fuel is growing, especially since the IMO announced it would introduce a global marine fuel sulphur limit of 0.5% from 2020,” he said.

Looking ahead

As the world remains focused on emissions reduction, interest in LNG as an environmentally-friendly marine fuel alternative is expected to increase.

“It’s certainly an offering we’d like to expand, particularly as truck-to-ship LNG bunkering can be achieved relatively inexpensively,” Nick said.

“If interest is there, EVOL LNG will obtain licences from major Australian and regional WA ports for LNG bunkering or look at investing in infrastructure to meet the market’s needs.”

Nick said EVOL LNG could supply Fremantle customers with LNG at a price competitive with low-sulphur marine diesel, refuelling ships at up to 45 tonnes per hour – similar to traditional bunker fuels.

EVOL LNG secured its second major Australian port bunkering licence from Pilbara Ports Authority, permitting LNG bunkering at King Bay Supply Base and transport through the Port of Dampier. This followed its first licence from Fremantle Ports in July last year.

EVOL LNG is managed by Kleenheat, which is part of Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers, a part of Wesfarmers Limited.

LNG bunkering fact file

  • Bunkering is the practice and business of refuelling ships.
  • EVOL LNG designed and fabricated a bunkering system for Woodside that is fully compliant with the comprehensive international LNG bunkering standard, ISO 18683:2015.
  • Since 2001 EVOL LNG has been an industry leader in the safe handling of LNG in the Australian power generation, industrial and transportation markets.
  • Initially, LNG will be delivered from EVOL LNG’s Kwinana plant.
  • King Bay Supply Base near Dampier is 1320 kilometres from Kwinana.
  • Siem Thiima is owned by Norwegian company Siem Offshore Australia Pty Ltd and is the first LNG-fuelled platform supply vessel in Australia.
  • LNG vaporises and leaves no residue in the event of a spill, minimising adverse impact on marine life or waterways. LNG is a cleaner alternative to marine diesel, emitting 25% less carbon dioxide, less NOx and almost zero SOx.
  • Fremantle Ports and Port of Dampier join the growing global LNG bunkering network which includes major ports in Europe, North America, Qatar, Singapore, Japan and Korea as well as more than 40 other ports around the world which currently, or plan to, bunker LNG.

3 Responses to “Australia’s first LNG bunkering is new energy territory

  1. February 23, 2017 at 10:20 pm
    Dereck said:

    As a Kleenheat customer and shareholder of both Wesfarmers and Woodside, I am really happy seeing you all working together to encourage the use of the clean burning LNG fuel to WA and nationwide. Good for the environment and hopefully for dividends too.
    A question, do the EVOL LNG trucks use LNG as fuel?

    • Eva
      Kleenheat logo
      February 28, 2017 at 9:20 am
      Eva said:

      Hi Dereck, we’d love to, but right now there are a few challenges. For one, gas engine technology for trucks in the Australian market is still developing but not yet reliable for our business. Another factor is the Government’s excise on LNG for road use, which is higher (per unit of energy) than for diesel trucks.

  2. February 28, 2017 at 10:02 am
    Geoff said:

    Do you see in the future a storage facility in Albany that could be used to replace the lpg that is being supplied to gas customers through the distribution system.