Trio completes first Great Lakes LNG bunkering operation

The Great Lakes region located along the Canada-US border hosted its first-ever LNG bunkering operation, according to the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority.

Canada’s Hamilton Port operator said in a statement it teamed up with US firms REV LNG and Pivotal LNG to complete the bunkering operation on Thursday.

Carrying a load of asphalt, the MV Damia Desgagnés docked at the Port of Hamilton’s Pier 22 to refuel before departing for Detroit.

From now on, marine vessels will be able to refuel with liquefied natural gas during any stopover at Hamilton Port.

Boosting adoption of LNG as fuel

“We look forward to continuing to find new ways to support improving air quality, reducing GHGs, and working collaboratively with Canadian and US marine and energy sector partners to help accelerate the adoption of LNG, and spur further fuel innovations,” said Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority CEO Ian Hamilton.

Furthermore, he added that this is in line with HOPA’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.

REV LNG, a Pennsylvania-based LNG services provider, presided over the commercial and technical development of the project, transportation and all shore-side operations.

“We expect this will signal the beginning of LNG bunkering in a key marine market, and REV’s special coordination and attention to safety will keep customers coming back,” said Dave Kailbourne, CEO of REV LNG.

Pivotal LNG, a provider of LNG marine fuel, supported the project with its expertise and supply from the recently operational Towanda liquefaction and storage facility, located in Pennsylvania.

An affiliate of Pivotal LNG in partnership with REV LNG owns and operates the facility.

“We couldn’t be happier to see that the brand-new facility in Towanda is already proving its value in the region,” said Roger Williams, VP of commercial LNG and gas development at BHE GT&S, the parent company of Pivotal LNG.

“LNG holds great promise for supporting the emissions reduction goals of the shipping industry and with Towanda’s proximity to the Great Lakes, we look forward to being part of that cleaner energy future,” he said.

Demand for LNG as fuel in Canada growing

In 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set out new targets for marine fleets to cut GHG emissions by 40 percent by 2030, and by 70 percent by 2050.

Shipping is a backbone of the global economy, and 90 percent of world trade travels via ship on waterways across the globe.

Although LNG supply chains are still relatively new in the Great Lakes, demand for LNG is growing as shipowners work to meet or exceed national climate targets for GHG reduction and improved air quality, in addition to those set by the IMO, the statement said.

Based in Quebec City, Desgagnés has been one of the early Canadian adopters, investing heavily in R&D and innovation across its fleet to reduce emissions.

“Our LNG fueled fleet has now expanded to five Canadian flagged tankers all operating in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway system, Eastern Canada and US as well as the Canadian Arctic,” said Jacques Beauchamp, President, Petro-Nav, a subsidiary of Desgagnés.

Currently, the only LNG capacity at ports in Canada exists along the west coast in BC and the St Lawrence River in Montreal and Quebec City.

HOPA says LNG is an immediately viable and cost-effective alternative, or transition fuel, alongside longer-term technologies like electrification, biofuels and other renewables.

“As the most carbon efficient mode of transport, marine shipping has an important part to play in the battle against climate change,” said Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

“Canadian ship operators have spent more than $2 billion in recent years on new ships as well as adopting technologies and alternative fuels to decrease their environmental footprint further. LNG is part of the mix of solutions and having an expanded supply network will be key to its further adoption,” he said.

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