AS A transport fuel for shipping, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is still in its infancy. But stricter environmental regulations and rising bunker fuel costs are prompting operators to weigh up the benefits of using natural gas instead of oil products.
Classification society Lloyd's Register reckons 653 deep-sea, LNG-fuelled ships could be in service by 2025, compared with around 30 today.
Between them, these container ships, cruise vessels and oil tankers will require 24 million tonnes a year (t/y) of LNG, or about a third of Qatar's LNG output now. At an LNG price 25% beneath today's, the number could rise to almost 2,000 ships.
Worldwide maritime transport uses about 370 million t/y of bunker fuel of all types, accounting for about 9% of world oil consumption. As global trade rises in the coming decade, however, consumption could reach 500 million t/y, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). LNG...