The Korean government is accelerating the development of LNG-fuelled vessels and establishment of LNG bunkering systems. The LNG bunkering vessel refuels LNG-powered vessels at sea. LNG-fuelled vessels and LNG bunkering systems are considered Blue Ocean in the marine sector.
The Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean Engineering (KRISO) said on May 30 that it has been conducting a study to develop basic design, operational skills and main equipment of floating LNG bunkering terminal (FLBTs) for five years since 2014, backed by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF).
Both LNG carriers and LNG bunkering shuttles have access to a FLBT to load and unload LNG at the same time. The study is led by the KRISO in cooperation with 30 more institutions such as Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS), POSCO and Samsung Heavy Industries.
The KRISO plans to complete the development of FLBT technologies in 2019 by converging the technology of the floating LNG facilities which more than 40 units have been displaced and run at sea around the world, the technology of LNG loading and unloading systems between ships, and the technology of advanced marine platforms. When the number of LNG-powered vessels increases, FBLTs will be added at the waters at home and abroad.
The LNG bunkering market will grow to 16 trillion won (US$14.22 billion) by 2025 as vessels are expected to consume 80 million tons of LNG. Considering the market share of domestic LNG ships and floating LNG bunkering facilities, South Korea will be able to make more than 10 trillion won (US$8.89 billion) of export revenues.
Europe and Singapore are already competing hard to dominate the initial LNG-fuelled vessel and LNG bunkering market in advance.
In Asia, China, Singapore and Japan, which have major port bases, are carrying out state-run LNG bunkering projects after forming a consultative group consisting of specialized institutions. Notably, Singapore and Belgium have already set up LNG bunkering facilities at the Port of Singapore, Port of Zeebrugge and Port of Antwerp.
Source: Business Korea