SOHAR to begin offering ship-to-ship LNG services

There are also plans to establish LNG bunkering facilities in SOHAR.
SOHAR executive commercial manager Edwin Lammers.
SOHAR executive commercial manager Edwin Lammers.

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SOHAR Port and Freezone has announced that measures are in place to begin issuing licenses to STS service providers equipped to handle LNG, which it says means it will join an elite group of ports offering LNG ship-to-ship services.

The announcement was made at the 2014 Singapore International Bunkering Conference (SIBCON).

With 125 years’ experience between them, Fendercare and SPT will be offered the opportunity to provide this pioneering service after requesting permission to begin operations.

SOHAR executive commercial manager Edwin Lammers revealed there are also plans to establish LNG bunkering facilities in SOHAR in years to come.

“We are delighted to announce that we have put all of the necessary licensing structures in place to be able to start LNG ship-to-ship services in SOHAR.

"Around the world there are currently only a few ports that are able to offer this service, among them Port of Rotterdam and Singapore,” Lammers explained.

“This will be the first phase of our project, and we will move quickly in issuing the new licenses and getting things up and running. The second phase will involve installing LNG bunkering services for vessels calling at SOHAR Port.”

The news comes just a few months ahead of the International Maritime Organisation’s deadline for cargo ships passing through so-called Emissions Control Areas to drastically reduce the level of sulphur oxide in fuel supplies to 0.1 percent.

“While the industry continues to explore safe and commercially viable options for reducing SOX levels in conventional fuels, many of the world’s biggest shipping lines are looking to bypass costly upgrades in favour of moving directly to LNG. We’ve anticipated this trend and expect the industry to develop fast,” said Lammers.

He continued: “As a first step, many organisations are developing ships that would be capable of burning LNG and diesel. Hanjin Shipping, DNV GL and GTT, for example, are currently designing a vessel that can carry 16,300 TEU on Asia-Europe routes.

"United Arab Shipping Co. is also building 17 hybrid ships — six with capacities of over 18,000 TEU, while UASC is looking to establish an LNG base in the Middle East.”

In addition to global shipping lines, a new European Union regulatory framework will make it a requirement for member states to build LNG infrastructure across core Trans-European Networks for Transport by 2025, ideally every 400 kilometres.

With many of Europe’s ports falling within one of the IMO’s Emissions Control Areas, the new rules are part of a far wider clean fuel strategy focused on bringing alternative fuels to the entire European transport sector, including inland vehicles.

Lammers says Europe is not alone, statting: “A recent LNG bunkering survey published by Lloyd’s Register reported that of the four ports in North America, 15 in Europe, and three in Asia that took part in the survey, more than half have LNG plans in the pipeline, and more than half also said they are working alongside other ports to develop those plans.”

He added: "Like SOHAR, many of the ports surveyed expect to rely on third-party ship-to-ship suppliers while further studies are carried out, feasibility reports compiled, and the larger investments required to build in-port infrastructures are secured.

"Over time, this trend will naturally shift, as the market evolves and as the full array of LNG benefits are harnessed. This includes energy security; economic and environmental benefits.”

Having recently boosted its in-port bunkering offering with a 6,000mt IFO barge and 500cbm gasoil barge, SOHAR is home to some of the world’s most experienced bunkering service and liquid bulk storage facilities.

This includes Omanoil Matrix Marine Services (MXO), an independent joint venture between Matrix Marine Holding and Oman Oil, and the world-leading Oiltanking Odfjell Terminals Oman (OOTO) – also a joint venture between Germany’s Oiltanking and Norway’s Odfjell.

Oiltanking is a leading independent storage partner for oils, while Odfjell is at the forefront of the global market for transporting and storing bulk liquid.

Together as OOTO they have a capacity of close to 1.4 million cubic metres in SOHAR. And, having forged a successful partnership in the niche chemical tanks market, the new LNG service will consolidate the position of SOHAR as a critical link on global shipping routes

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