Cleaner, LNG-power helps make waves

Pilbara News - - News - Peter Milne

Wood­side En­ergy’s am­bi­tion to be at the fore­front of ships mov­ing to cleaner fuel took an early step last week with the chris­ten­ing in Fre­man­tle of its first LNGpow­ered ves­sel.

The Siem Thi­ima is a 90m-long plat­form sup­port ves­sel built in Poland.

It has been work­ing out of Kar­ratha since last month sup­ply­ing Wood­side’s off­shore plat­forms and float­ing pro­duc­tion ves­sels.

Wood­side chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Mike Ut­sler said there were more than 200 LNG-pow­ered ves­sels in op­er­a­tion glob­ally with about an­other 200 un­der con­struc­tion.

How­ever, the Siem Thi­ima and the Searoad Mersey II, a roll-on roll-off ferry that ar­rived in Devon­port in De­cem­ber to serve the Bass Strait mar­ket, are the only two in Aus­tralia.

Mr Ut­sler said Wood­side was look­ing to move the 50-strong fleet of ves­sels sup­port­ing its op­er­a­tions to LNG fuel over the next five years.

The oil and gas pro­ducer is build­ing an LNG truck-load­ing fa­cil­ity at its Pluto plant in Kar­ratha to first fuel its fleet and then com­pete with diesel in the Pil­bara for lo­co­mo­tives and power gen­er­a­tion.

The plant is due to be op­er­at­ing by the end of the year. Un­til then, the Siem Thi­ima will be fu­elled by Wes­farm­ers’ Evol LNG.

Evol LNG busi­ness man­ager Nick Rea said new in­ter­na­tional rules re­quir­ing less sul­phur emis­sions from ships by 2020 were driv­ing the in­ter­est in LNG as a marine fuel.

“LNG is a cleaner fuel than marine diesel, emit­ting 25 per cent less car­bon diox­ide, less ni­tro­gen ox­ides and al­most zero sul­phur ox­ides and par­tic­u­lates,” he said.

Mr Ut­sler said there were three ways for ships to meet the re­quire­ments: ex­pen­sive ul­tralow sul­phur diesel fu­els, fit­ting “scrub­ber” sys­tems to ex­ist­ing ships, or LNG.

The Pil­bara con­sumed three bil­lion litres of diesel a year and visit­ing ships con­sumed five bil­lion litres of marine fuel a year.

LNG-pow­ered sup­port ves­sel Siem Thi­ima is fu­elled by an Evol truck at Fre­man­tle Port.

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