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Another bunkering method is shore-ship, whereby LNG is either bunkered directly from an (intermediary) tank or small station, or from an import or export terminal. Pipelines from the terminal to the quay are needed if the LNG terminal is not directly situated at the berth. Bunkering from pipelines has been used for LNG-fuelled ships in Norway for several years already. Under the LNG Masterplan, LNG bunker terminals for inland shipping are to be built in the Port of Antwerp and in Ruse, as pilots, while a feasibility study for an LNG terminal in the Port of Constanta is scheduled.
Shore-ship bunkering is generally a good option for ports with stable, long-term bunkering demand, especially in the case of co-use of LNG by other consumers. Because the pipeline and the loading arm arrangement are fixed, a larger hose can be installed to increase the bunkering rate (up to 3,000 l/min), leading to significantly shorter bunkering times.
One of the major drawbacks of this type of bunkering is the effort it takes a ship to get to the location of the bunker terminal (or pipeline). In addition, limited berth access for larger LNG-fuelled vessels can also be a barrier for shore-ship bunkering.
Given the scale of import terminals, as well as for efficiency reasons, most ports will not be equipped with an LNG import terminal. However, ports lacking such a terminal can install fixed storage terminals or use bunker ships for LNG supply.
Shore-ship bunkering is especially suitable shipping services with a high frequency, limited demand, less strict timetables and limited vessel draft. Examples include bunkering vessels, tugs, inland shipping vessels, utility vessels and fishing boats.
Shore-ship bunkering may also be a good option for inland shipping, because inland vessels have the flexibility to visit fixed stations, whereas seagoing vessels do not.
2013, Ocean Shipping Consultants (Royal Haskoning), LNG as a bunker fuel: future demand prospects & port design options
- Website LNG masterplan
STS bunkering favoured
Ship-to-ship (STS) bunkering is generally considered the most favourable option for LNG bunkering, especially for ships with a short port turnaround time. STS bunkering does not generally interfere with cargo operation and passenger movement; however these operations should be considered in the risk assessment when drawing up plans for STS bunkering and approval by authorities.