Titan LNG, one of the chief liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers in North West Europe (NWE), has developed the first LNG bunkering pontoon in the region: The Titan LNG Flex-Fueler.

The innovative solution has been designed to deliver LNG safely to both sea-faring and river barges in ports throughout the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp (ARA) area.

The 70m-long pontoon will be fitted with up to four tanks, each capable of holding 300 cubic metres (cbm) and dispensing between 30-450 cbm of LNG per hour. It is capable of loading and unloading via ex-wharf, ex-truck and ex-vessel.

Titan’s LNG Flex-Fueler aims to give larger vessels access to LNG delivery in Europe’s largest bunkering hub and is intended to act as a catalyst for increased demand for LNG. It is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2018.

Niels den Nijs, Commercial Director at the Amsterdam outfit, explained, “There is an increase in larger LNG-fuelled vessels coming into the market, which cannot bunker at land-based LNG stations. Titan LNG Flex Fueler is the missing link to safe, economical and speedy LNG delivery in the ARA region.”

“The Titan Flex-Fueler can act as a catalyst for a substantial increase in demand for LNG conversion – with current retrofitting costs decreasing as tanks and cryogenic equipment become cheaper due to economies of scale.” 

“Titan LNG Flex Fueler is the missing link to safe, economical and speedy LNG delivery in the ARA region”

Niels den Nijs, Commercial Director, Titan LNG

Demand on the rise

The shipping industry is seeing an increase in demand for LNG and bunkering infrastructure following the establishment of Emission Control Areas (ECAs), first implemented in 2005 but tightened last year.

From 1st January 2015 the four established Sulfur Emission Control Areas (ECAs) established under MARPOL protocol Annex VI – the Baltic Sea area, North Sea area, North American area and the US Caribbean Sea area – restricted ships trading in these zones to use fuel on-board with a sulfur content of no more than 0.1%.

As a result, specialised sea zones have been gradually constricting emission limits of airborne emissions such as sulfur oxides (SOx) in the maritime sector with an increased number of ships switching to LNG as a marine fuel. Some areas in Europe have seen reductions of almost 60% in sulfur emissions since these regulations were intensified.

In addition, the return on investment (ROI) in switching to LNG is expected to accelerate as the global 0.5% sulphur limit is implemented in 2020 in conjunction with the anticipated rebound of crude oil prices.