LNG Poised To Capture Growing Portion Of Global Bunker Fuel Market
December 16, 2019 09:43:00 UTC
BY JIM MAGIL & EDITED BY DEBIPRASAD NAYAK
Houston — As shipping companies prepare to bring their fleets into compliance with IMO 2020, LNG is poised to capture a small but growing portion of the international bunker fuel market in the US and across the globe.
The International Maritime Organization’s new regulations will come into effect from January 1, 2020 when the ocean-going vessels have to cut the sulfur content in fuels to 0.5% from the previous limit of 3.5% established in 2012.
The change in sulfur limits has had “wide-ranging repercussions for the global refining and shipping industries as well for petroleum supply, demand, trade flows and prices,” according to a report in March from the US Energy Information Administration. To comply with the regulations fleet owners are switching to the use of low-sulfur fuel oil as well as non-petroleum-based fuels, such as LNG, EIA said.
The adoption of LNG as a bunkering fuel is expanding across the globe, with new bunkering infrastructure being built in Europe, Asia and North America, according to Sea/LNG, an international industry coalition promoting the use of LNG as a marine fuel.
In the US, EIA forecasts that the use of LNG as a marine bunkering fuel will remain limited through 2020 and grow slowly in the years afterward. In its Annual Energy Outlook 2019, the EIA reference case projects limited use of LNG as a bunker fuel in the next five years, “reflecting the high initial infrastructure development cost and the limited current infrastructure to accommodate LNG bunkering at US ports.”
As US LNG bunkering infrastructure is built out over the next several years, LNG’s share of the US bunker fuel market is forecast to grow in the medium and long term, expanding to 7% of the market in 2030 and to 10% by 2050 from a relatively small share, EIA said.
Over the past several years, a number of ships have been either built with or were offered to be equipped with LNG-ready engines — engines that could be configured to run on LNG at a later date, EIA said.
“Very few vessels consume LNG as their primary fuel, and the infrastructure to support LNG as a shipping fuel is currently limited in both scale and availability,” the EIA March report states.
170 LNG SHIPS IN OPERATION
According to Sea/LNG, there are currently 170 LNG tankers in operation and 184 ships on order.
One of the early adopters of LNG-fueled ocean-going vessels was Carnival. “We were the first cruise line to adopt LNG as a fuel source for shore power, and now we are the first cruise line to launch a ship powered by LNG at sea,” Roger Frizzell, a spokesman for the cruise line company, said in an email statement.
To date, Carnival has launched two LNG-powered ships, the AIDANova and Costa Smeralda and has nine new LNG ships on order between 2020 and 2025.
“We believe this is the marine industry’s most advanced fuel technology to date and it is an important component of our overall environmental compliance strategy,” Frizzell said.
A critical component contributing to the growth of LNG as a maritime fuel is the construction and deployment of LNG bunkering vessels, which supply the fuel to the ocean-going ships.
Nine LNG bunker vessels were in operation at the end of 2018, up from one vessel at the beginning of 2017, according to Sea/LNG. That number is expected to grow substantially in 2020, and Sea/LNG anticipates that “up to 30 LNG bunker vessels could be operating globally within the next four to five years.”
Many large ports across the globe are beginning to offer LNG bunkering capacity. Of the top 25 global ports ranked by volume of trade, bulk LNG is already available in, or near, 24 of them, according to Sea/LNG. “The main challenge is the ‘last mile,’ i.e., the investment in bunkering infrastructure needed to take LNG from bulk facilities to the ships.”
Carnival Joins Getting to Zero Coalition
BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE 12-17-2019 04:22:00
Carnival Corporation has become the first cruise operator to join the Getting to Zero Coalition, a broad alliance focused on the decarbonization of the international shipping industry.
The newly-launched Getting to Zero Coalition is a partnership among the Global Maritime Forum, the Friends of Ocean Action the World Economic Forum, and 80-plus industry partners from multiple sectors. The coalition aims to attain the IMO’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050. As an interim goal, the Getting to Zero Coalition aspires to see commercially viable, zero-emissions deep sea vessels entering the global fleet as early as 2030. The alliance’s ambitions also include the production and distribution infrastructure for zero-carbon energy sources.
“We look forward to working with fellow coalition partners . . . to develop a roadmap that identifies the technologies, investments and actions we must pursue to begin introducing zero emission vessels into the global shipping and passenger fleet,” said Tom Strang, SVP of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation. “We have a deep commitment to safety, environmental responsibility and consistently exceeding guest expectations, and being an active part of the Getting to Zero Coalition is another important step for the environment.”
Carnival already leads the cruise industry’s use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power cruise ships, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately six to 20 percent. Carnival launched the world’s first cruise ship powered by LNG, AIDAnova, in late 2018, followed by a second LNG ship, Costa Smeralda, earlier this month. The firm is also a leading adopter of scrubber technology, with HFO-compatible exhaust gas scrubbers installed aboard 70 percent of its fleet. Another 40 percent of its fleet is equipped for cold-ironing where shore power is available.
Carnival – the largest company in the leisure travel sector worldwide – says that it is developing environmentally-friendly solutions as part of its commitment to compliance and performance. The company has also been building out its environmental compliance team, an initiative paralleling its efforts to comply with a court-supervised probation agreement for past oil pollution charges. In 2016, Carnival subsidiary Princess Cruises pleaded guilty to seven felony MARPOL charges and was sentenced to pay a $40 million penalty; earlier this year, Carnival paid an additional $20 million to settle charges related to MARPOL requirements and the terms of its probation agreement.
9 Things To Know About The Booming Global Liquefied Natural Gas Market
July 12, 2019
First, a special thanks to GIIGNL for much of this data filed in its Annual Report 2019 that reviews the 2018 global LNG market. I cherry picked this list on things that I find interesting and/or underrepresented in market talk, and then of course added a few other points. Given that cleaner, flexible, affordable, and reliable natural gas is the go-to fuel to cut greenhouse gas emissions and backup intermittent wind and solar power, and given that LNG is the fastest growing commodity market in the world, the reality is that there are about 100 things you need to know about LNG, but let’s just stick to nine of them.
1… In 2018, the LNG market grew by 8% with deliveries at 314 million tons (MT) This was nearly a 30% rise from 2015 and over a tripling since 2000. There was 868 MTPA (per annum) of total regasification capacity but only 406 MTPA of total liquefaction capacity. LNG now accounts for ~14% of gas use globally. And there is currently some $1.4 trillion in LNG development across the globe, with the U.S., Canada, Russia, and Australia leading. This makes perfect sense: yearly global demand is modeled to soar 3-7% for decades (those that foresee any regression for LNG base their assumptions on unrealistic Herculean forecasts for wind and solar power). Today In: Industry
2…Although declining, long-term, oil-based contracts still dominate, at 68% of LNG contracts. Around 25% of all LNG was sold on a spot basis, with another 7% short-term (i.e., under four years). The emerging U.S. export market in particular is adding a critical flexible contract style to the market – more liquidity and shorter-term options enhancing the business. The U.S. is bringing LNG that lacks the “destination clauses” that have long restricted the resale of unneeded supply. It’s the U.S. that will evolve gas from a regional product into a global commodity sold like petroleum.
3…At 26% of all global imports, Japan got nearly 55% more LNG than second place China. China, however, saw yearly growth of 38% following a 42% jump in 2017. Already the largest gas importer when piped supplies are included, China should become the leading LNG buyer this year or next. Latent gas demand in China is obviously immense: gas only accounts for 8% of China’s total energy demand (compared to the OECD average of 25%).
4…Global LNG leader Qatar is surely facing stiff competition to hold its position. The country, however, has at least one key advantage beyond low cost production and already established links to customers. Qatar has its own state-owned ship builder. Nakilat owns nearly 70 LNG vessels. This must be nice: globally in 2018, the average spot charter rate for a 160,000 cubic meters LNG carrier stood at $88,692/day, compared to an average $46,058/day in 2017. Illustrating the country’s forward thinking, Qatar Petroleum also plans to invest $20 billion in U.S. energy projects over the next five years.
5…With three more export facilities coming online this year and literally dozens more under consideration, the U.S. could become the global LNG leader by 2024. In fact, around 25 MTPA of new liquefaction capacity is expected to come online this year, 21 MTPA of which is located in the U.S. The U.S. has a massive low cost gas resource base of 700-800 trillion cubic feet that can be produced even when prices fall below $3.
6…Cameroon starting exporting LNG in 2018, and Tanzania and Mozambique will soon join. Unfortunately, these poor countries will be exporting a modern fuel like gas while being drastically energy-deprived themselves. Looking at “access to electricity” stats from the World Bank, respectively Cameroon, Tanzania, and Mozambique have 10 million, 40 million, and 22 million people that have NO ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY – the enabling sine quo non of modernity. “Oil And Natural Gas Companies Could Be Heroes In Africa.”
7… Never underestimate the non-stop advance of natural gas technologies For example, Floating liquefaction plants (FLNG) and Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs) are making the business easier and cheaper for both exporters and importers. As the market matures, some of the still developing nations (non-OECD) are now able to realistically buy LNG. There are now 20 LNG exporters and 42 importers, with the latter potentially doubling within 12-15 years. These new customers, however, are bringing a credit risk dynamic to the LNG trade since many of them have lower ratings.
8…LNG is a key option for shippers to meet the coming IMO Sulfur Rule (cutting the sulfur rate for bunker fuel from today’s 3.5% to 0.5%) that starts in 2020. The four options for shippers are: Convert to or purchase LNG-fueled vessels; Use low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO); Install or purchase vessels that have scrubbers to remove polluting matter like sulfur; Utilize variants of middle distillates such as marine gas oil (MGO) or marine diesel oil (MDO).
Retrieved 9/10/19 from: Forbes Magazine : iven a lack of final investment decisions for new LNG export projects in recent years, demand will start to outstrip supply by 2022-2023. This is why so many LNG price forecasts have a bullish tilt over the mid-term and beyond. As a seller not a buyer, EIA forecasts that U.S. Henry Hub prices will remain below $4 until 2035, giving our LNG suppliers rather solid netback opportunity. Europe’s gas prices are expected to be 2-4 times higher than those in the U.S, with Asia’s 3-5 times higher. After all, Asia now accounts for just over 20% of global gas demand but will constitute 45% or more of incremental demand in the decades ahead.
Natural Gas Explained – Liquefied Natural Gas
Natural gas explained Liquefied natural gas What is LNG? Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state, at about -260° Fahrenheit, for shipping and storage. The volume of natural gas in its liquid state is about 600 times smaller than its volume in its gaseous state. This process, which was developed in the 19th century, makes it possible to transport natural gas to places pipelines do not reach and to use natural gas as a transportation fuel. LNG increases markets for natural gas Where natural gas pipelines are not feasible or do not exist, liquefying natural gas is a way to move natural gas from producing regions to markets, such as to and from the United States and countries in Asia or Europe. Asian countries combined account for the largest share of global LNG imports. LNG is shipped in special ocean-going ships (tankers) between export terminals, where natural gas is liquefied, and import terminals, where LNG is returned to its gaseous state or regasified. From an import terminal, regasified LNG is transported by natural gas pipelines to gas-fired power plants, industrial facilities, and residential and commercial customers. Most LNG is transported by large ships/tankers called LNG carriers in onboard, super-cooled (cryogenic) tanks. LNG is also transported in relatively small volumes on ships using International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compliant containers and on trucks. At import facilities, LNG is typically stored onsite in special cryogenic storage tanks before regasification and input into pipelines that transport regasified LNG to consumers. In the United States, some power plants store natural gas onsite as LNG to generate electricity when electricity demand is high, such as during cold and hot weather, or when pipeline delivery capacity is constrained or insufficient to meet increased demand for natural gas by other consumers. The power plants take natural gas from natural gas pipelines, liquefy it in small-scale liquefaction facilities, and store it in cryogenic tanks. The LNG is regasified and burned by the power plants when needed. Some ships, trucks, and buses, with specially designed LNG tanks, use LNG as fuel.
The United States imports and exports LNG In recent years, the United States has become a net exporter of LNG, largely because of increasing U.S. natural gas production; declining natural gas imports by pipeline, primarily from Canada; declining LNG imports; and expansion of LNG-export terminal capacity. The United States imported very small amounts of LNG until 1995, and then LNG imports generally increased each year until peaking in 2007 at about 771 billion cubic feet (Bcf). Increases in U.S. natural gas production and expansion of the natural gas pipeline network have reduced the need to import natural gas. LNG imports declined in most years since 2007. In 2018, the United States imported about 76.5 Bcf of LNG—the lowest amount since 1997—from five countries. The Everett regasification terminal near Boston, Massachusetts, receives most U.S. LNG imports. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont may have significant pipeline constraints when heating demand increases substantially during periods of very cold weather. LNG imports help to meet natural gas demand in New England because the region currently has limited pipeline interconnections with the Northeast and U.S. natural gas producing regions.
In 2018, U.S. LNG exports reached a record high of about 1,083 Bcf to 37 countries. In 2018, LNG carriers transported nearly all U.S. LNG exports. Less than 1 Bcf of U.S. LNG exports went to Barbados and the Bahamas on small tankers equipped with ISO containers. About 0.6 Bcf of U.S. LNG exports were by truck to Canada and Mexico, with 97% going to Mexico. Sometimes, when natural gas prices are favorable to do so, the United States re-exports some of the LNG that it originally imported. However, the United States did not re-export LNG in 2018. U.S. LNG exports are expected to increase in coming years as new U.S. LNG export capacity comes online. Detailed information is available on existing and under-construction large-scale U.S. liquefaction facilities in the United States. Last updated: June 4, 2019 US Energy Information Administration: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/natural-gas/liquefied-natural-gas.php
Chevron expects LNG supply shortage by 2025
March 6, 2018
John Benny (Reuters)
Chevron Corp said on Tuesday it expected supply shortage in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market by around 2025, echoing comments made last month by top LNG trader Royal Dutch Shell. Demand for natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal and oil, has surged as countries such as China look to curb environmental pollution. Chevron, owner of the giant Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects in Australia, said it expects global demand to be nearly 600 million metric tonne per annum (mmtpa) by 2035, while supply could be just about half of that. “China’s demand is increasing significantly – they’ve had a very active program to move off of coal in heating industrial applications, and that’s pulled on LNG,” Pierre Breber, EVP -downstream at Chevron, said during the company’s analyst day, when asked about spot LNG prices. China imported record levels of LNG in January, as the world’s second-largest economy shored up supplies ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations. Shell in February estimated that more than $200 billion of investments in LNG is needed to meet the boom in demand by 2030. The global LNG market is set to continue its rapid expansion into 2020 as facilities approved for construction in the first half of the decade come on line.
Chevron is nearing the end of a huge period of LNG investment. In 2017, production from its operated LNG projects grew by around 13 mmtpa, approximately 40% of global LNG capacity growth. With its major projects in Western Australia, Gorgon (which started in 2016) and Wheatstone (which started in October 2017) now almost complete, the company is set to join the top tier of global LNG producers and generate substantial cash flows (we estimate approx. US$5-6 billion a year at US$65/barrel real) for several decades to come.
Shell Launches LNG Outlook 2018
The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market has continued to defy expectations, growing by 29 million tonnes in 2017, according to Shell’s latest LNG Outlook. Based on current demand projections, Shell sees potential for a supply shortage developing in the mid-2020s, unless new LNG production project commitments are made soon.
The Shell LNG Outlook, now in its second year, highlights key trends in 2017 and focuses on future global supply and demand.
It finds that, since the start of the century, the number of countries importing LNG has quadrupled, while the number of countries supplying LNG has almost doubled. LNG trade increased from 100 million tonnes in 2000 to nearly 300 million tonnes in 2017.
TOKYO — Liquefied natural gas plant investment in the U.S. is making a comeback. Resources exploration companies have until recently held off on spending, ever since oil prices collapsed starting in 2014.
Bloomberg Reports: Given an average 5-year lead time in LNG project development and construction, 2018-20 is a crucial window in which to reach final investment decisions.
California signs law to ends use of fossil fuels for electricity by 2045
November 9, 2018
Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP | In this file photo taken on September 04, 2018, solar panels are mounted atop the roof of the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California.
Text by:NEWS WIRES California Governor Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation Monday committing his state to a 100 percent clean electricity grid by 2045. “This bill and the executive order put California on a path to meet the goals of Paris and beyond,” Brown said at a signing ceremony in state capital Sacramento. “It will not be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done.”
At least 20 countries and twice as many large cities have made similar pledges, but California — the fifth largest economy in the world — is by far the biggest jurisdiction to do so to date. The electric sector represents 16 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. More broadly, California has set ambitious goals to slash greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
On the international stage, California has emerged as a leader on climate action as US President Donald Trump has opted out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate treaty and moved aggressively to dismantle the policies of his predecessor, Barack Obama. “It’s impossible to overstate how significant it is for a state as large and influential as California to commit to 100 percent clean energy,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “California is showing the world that a transition to 100 percent clean energy is within reach.”
But Brown cautioned that reducing emissions enough to meet the Paris goal of capping global warming below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) remains a daunting task. “Have no illusions,” Brown said. “California and the rest of the world have miles to go before we achieve zero-carbon emissions.”
Shell warns of liquefied natural gas shortage as LNG demand blows past expectations
February 26, 2018
CERAWEEK BY IHS MARKIT
Royal Dutch Shell reports that the market in liquefied natural gas, or LNG, reached 293 million tons in 2017, 30 percent higher than expected. • Despite the growth, Shell warns that the market could face a shortage of LNG by the mid-2020s due to under investment in new projects. • The root of the problem is a mismatch between the types of contracts buyers and sellers prefer, which may delay investments in new LNG capacity, Shell says.
Royal Dutch Shell says the world could be grappling with a shortage of liquefied natural gas within a decade due to under investment in new projects. The Anglo-Dutch energy giant issued the warning in its second annual LNG outlook, which reports on developments in the booming market for natural gas cooled to liquid form for export. Shell says the market for LNG grew by 29 million tons last year, 30 percent more than previously expected. Trading in LNG reached 293 million tons in 2017, up from just 100 million tons at the turn of the century. At nearly 300 million tons, suppliers shipped enough LNG last year to power about 575 million homes, by Shell’s count. LNG is playing a growing role in the energy mix as nations around the world seek to mitigate the impacts of climate change. While natural gas is a carbon-emitting fossil fuel, it burns cleaner than coal and heating oil. Shell’s report is good news for an industry that will see a huge amount of LNG capacity come online in the next few years, including from the United States, where five LNG export terminals are expected to start up by the end of 2019.
Analysts expect natural gas prices to remain low as the market sops up all the new supplies, but Shell is ringing the alarm bells that the market could swing from oversupply to deficit by the mid-2020s. “We are still seeing significant demand from traditional importers in Asia and Europe, but we are also seeing LNG provide flexible, reliable and cleaner energy supply for other countries around the world,” Maarten Wetselaar, Shell’s director of integrated gas and new energies, said in a statement. “In Asia alone, demand rose by 17 million tonnes. That’s nearly as much as Indonesia, the world’s fifth-largest LNG exporter, produced in 2017.” At the heart of the problem, says Shell, is a sea change in the way importing nations purchase LNG. Traditionally, sellers entered into long-term contracts with customers, an arrangement that allowed them to underwrite investments in the massive facilities that process natural gas and ship it abroad in its super-chilled liquid form. While most suppliers still favor this setup, many buyers now prefer more flexible contracts that commit them to buying fewer supplies over a shorter period of time, according to Shell. So-called spot deliveries of LNG, or shipments made on an as-needed basis, increased 17 percent in 2017 to an all-time high 1,100 cargoes.
These contracts allow buyers to take advantage of price fluctuations, a trend that should continue as several countries seek to establish LNG trading hubs. The rise of the hubs is expected to increase liquidity and transparency in pricing, similar to the development of benchmark crude oil futures years ago. But in the interim, the disconnect between buyers’ and sellers’ preferences threatens to inject uncertainty into the industry and cause suppliers to hold off approving investments in new facilities. In 2017, China surpassed South Korea to become the world’s second-largest LNG importer. The nation’s LNG imports reached 38 million tons last year as Beijing aims to reduce the nation’s reliance on coal-fired power, according to Shell. The company sees growth in LNG shipments coming primarily from Australia, the world’s largest exporter after Qatar, and the United States, where the Trump administration is pushing the fuel as a way to increase energy security in Europe and diversify fuel supply in Asia. Africa is also driving growth as several oil giants ramp up projects on the continent. MsLightBox | Getty Images
Tom DiChristopher Energy Reporter
The future is bullish for LNG
“Natural gas is truly becoming a globally traded commodity, and the future is bullish for liquefied natural gas (LNG),” according to Mike Wirth, Chevron vice chairman and executive vice president of Midstream and Development. With LNG demand projected to grow by roughly two-thirds over the next decade, he says, “It’s an exciting time to be a part of this industry.”
Wirth speaks on an International Energy Leadership Panel at the Gastech Exhibition and Conference in Chiba, Japan, this week, which will discuss how gas suppliers are adapting to the changing global market. Gastech brings together more than 2,500 delegates including commercial experts and technical innovators from across the LNG supply chain.
Wirth on supply, demand, and taking a long-term view
Based on current projections, the Chevron vice chairman says LNG demand will outstrip supply from existing production and currently sanctioned projects in the next decade. Project developers must take a long-term view in making their decisions, he says.
In mature markets such as Japan and continental Europe, deregulation, fuel competition and environmental concerns will be important factors in making investment decisions. In emerging markets, natural gas will assume a rising share of the energy mix, encouraging new markets and new buyers for LNG.
“Asia alone will be responsible for nearly 50 percent of expected global LNG demand growth over the next decade.”
Michael Wirth Chevron Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President of Midstream and Development
Supporting these growing economies and improved living standards will require affordable energy that fits into household, business and government budgets. Wirth says that natural gas will be critical to providing the basics, such as transportation to get to work and to seek medical attention, and electricity to cook food and light homes, schools and businesses.
Dealing with a supply gap
How will energy producers cope with this growth in LNG demand? While current LNG supply coupled with projects in progress is expected to meet near-term demand, a supply gap is anticipated in the years ahead.
Wirth remarks that a significant percentage of capacity entering the market today is coming from Australia, including LNG from Chevron’s Gorgon Project and, later this year, from our Wheatstone Project.
Wirth adds that the next wave of supply has already begun to come from major projects now under construction in the United States. However, beyond these projects, the energy industry will face key challenges and major investment decisions on how to best meet long-term demand by developing supply and deliver to market reliable, affordable LNG.
“Only the most economically feasible and cost-competitive projects are likely to be sanctioned,” says Wirth. Achieving this goal will require strong customer relationships and the development of new partnerships as buyers’ needs change and new buyers enter the market.
Support of host governments will be essential to source LNG, access markets and enable development. This will require mutually beneficial financial, social and environmental terms and conditions.
Producers and buyers will play key roles in driving forward any new LNG projects. Producers will need to drive down the costs of their projects, recognizing that buyers have choices.
And buyers will need to keep in mind that today’s low prices won’t last if long-term supply does not keep up with demand, he says.
Wirth recognizes that these are not necessarily new challenges; but they can be met, as they have in the past. “It is through communication, collaboration, technology and ingenuity that we’ll solve them again.”
Published: April 2017 Retrieved from, https://www.chevron.com/stories/the-future-is-bullish-for-lng
The Growing Demand For Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Heavy-duty trucks, refuse trucks, public transportation buses, commercial bus fleets, commercial marine, recreational boats, mining & farming heavy-duty off-road equipment, passenger vehicles, and rail markets all support the LNG industry. Our rampant population growth and increased consumption of energy fuels have an ever-growing demand and pressing need for these markets to look for new sources of cleaner burning fuels. Research shows the U.S. has an abundant supply of Natural Gas. By switching to natural gas as a transportation fuel or implementing LNG/CNG conversion systems, companies not only receive substantial fuel savings but will also new meet environmental standards.
The transportation industry reports indicate the market for heavy-duty natural trucks is growing at an annual pace of 20%. Municipal fleets and transit systems are increasingly transitioning to natural gas; 25% to 30% of all public transportation buses currently on order are natural gas-powered. Markets supporting the LNG industry are experiencing growth and developing ways to implement natural gas fuels. Mining companies are utilizing LNG conversion systems for heavy-duty off-road equipment. Railway companies are testing LNG to fuel its trains. TOTE, Inc., a marine company located San Diego CA started construction on the world’s first LNG -powered containership to service Puerto Rico. The state of California has more LNG/CNG refueling stations operating than any state in the United States. There are plans to build additional refueling stations in California and throughout the country. The growing number of refueling stations is due to significant demand for LNG/CNG as a transportation fuel in other markets; medium-duty trucks, light-duty trucks, light-duty vans, SUVs, and passenger vehicles.
However, there are still bottlenecks in the supply chain of natural gas for LNG fueled vehicles and refueling stations as production cannot keep up with the demand. There is a compelling case for the long-term oil supply-demand imbalance,” stated by NGVAMERICA. By ignoring the facts and deferring investments in natural gas vehicles and natural gas fuels, the result can produce an adverse effect. It can delay economic growth and long-term fuel price stability that only natural gas can deliver as a transportation fuel. The future outlook of the LNG industry is positive, and the market timing still shows favorable signs for LNG.
Transitioning Trucks from Diesel to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Vehicles using diesel engines dominate the delivery and transportation industries and have for a very long time. With most long-haul trucks, local transport vehicles, freight locomotives, cargo handling equipment, boats, and barges all running on diesel engines, it’s no wonder that billions of gallons of diesel fuel are being consumed annually in the United States alone. Thankfully, companies are now looking for ways to use cleaner burning fuel alternatives.
LNG Can Replace Diesel Fuel in Trucking
One such alternative is the use of natural gas instead of diesel. While it’s true that traditional natural gas is not a viable fuel for trucking and delivery vehicles. The use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is a viable fuel and is growing in the trucking industry. The transition from the use of diesel to the use of natural gas is gaining traction and momentum among environmentally-minded individuals and companies. However, the higher cost of trucks that run on LNG is one of the biggest factors slowing the growth of using LNG in trucking.
Diesel Conversion to LNG
Many companies are developing new methods of converting existing diesel engines into engines that run on natural gas for about the same price as a traditional overhaul. These conversions provide a significant reduction in our country’s use of diesel. Omintek has developed a diesel-to-natural gas engine conversion technology. ”As engines are converted to use 100 percent natural gas, CNG or LNG, the payback on a diesel-to-natural gas truck conversion can be as short as 16 months, including the cost of the engine, fuel storage system and installation labor,” Werner Funk, president and chief executive officer of Omnitek Engineering Corp. Conversion to LNG allows these vehicles to continue in operation and emit fewer environment-harming chemicals at the same time.
As the industry moves from diesel to cleaner burning fuels, some companies will not be able to switch fully from diesel to LNG for various reasons. For those companies, a dual-fuel conversion system is a solution in the short term. Dual fuel conversions allow a diesel engine to use either a mixture of natural gas and diesel fuel or straight diesel fuel at need. The use of natural gas in converted engines displace diesel fuel by 50% or more and provides emission saving benefits of a cleaner burning fuel.
With many trucking companies thinking about moving to cleaner burning fuel alternatives, it’s a great time to invest in LNG.
The Impact of Falling Oil Prices
Many people in the investment community ask the question, “What is the impact of falling oil prices?” The oil industry goes through a structural change almost every 10 to 15 years and has experience highs and lows due to supply and demand. In the last six months, daily headlines tell the story of falling oil prices. Prices fell from over $100 per barrel in July 2014 to under $50 and perhaps below $40 per barrel; representing a 50% price reduction. The market is experiencing a shift in a supply-demand balance. However, the price of oil is resilient due its actual cost of production as well as real demand and will weather through to make a strong rebound.
The downside of low oil prices will impact exploratory projects, hydraulic fracking projects, and mega projects for LNG export as well as crude oil production. This impact is primarily a result of profit margins based on $90 to $100 per barrel prices. New large-scale exporting LNG projects will slow down however they will bounce back within a couple years. Planned U.S. LNG projects already under construction or committed construction projects with long-term contracts will continue as many projects will avoid the negative aspect of lower oil prices.
The upside will provide financial relief for American consumers and the manufacturing sector to the tune of $150 billion dollars. In addition, the manufacturing sector will benefit strongly from lower energy cost, that some portion may also be transferred to the consumers. We are witnessing an increase in consumer spending which directly benefits retailers throughout the country.
The clean energy revolution is one of the biggest factors for America’s economy for the next 10 to 20 years. The U.S. has transitioned from a significant net energy importer to a near self-sufficient state and close to an exporter. Morgan Stanley’s economics team is predicting that crude oil prices will bounce back to the mid-$80s a barrel in 2015 from their recent plunge. “U.S. LNG has value beyond its price, and the benefit is greater flexibility for buyers”, noted Alex Munton, a senior analyst for North America Gas & LNG with Wood Mackenzie.
Our economy relies on transporting people and products by way of the trucking, shipping and railway industry. The over-the-road transport industry is a vital part of our American economy. Regardless of oil prices LNG is an essential part of the equation due to EPA demands to reduce greenhouse gas and emissions. Most fleet owners are looking for solutions to stay compliant and reduce cost. Surprisingly, lower prices have not prevented our nation’s forward-thinking fleet owners and fleet managers from implementing ways to save fuel and improve their sustainability efforts. For heavy-duty applications, the choice of transportation fuel and substitute for Diesel is LNG. Green fleets are finding various ways to save money by implementing route optimization, right-sizing, transporting more freight in the same number of trailers and most of all converting to cleaner burning fuel.
In closing; We feel the rebound will gradually effectuate and LNG will continue to be a short term & long term solution providing companies with multiple strategic benefits.