Spanish LNG bunkering operations hit record high in 2021

Liquefied natural gas bunkering operations in Spain reached a record high last year as fueling infrastructure expanded and more LNG-powered vessels joined the global fleet.

Spanish ports hosted a total of 943 LNG ship bunkering operations in the January-December period, according to Spain’s Gasnam, an association that supports the promotion of LNG as fuel.

This marked a rise of 27 percent when compared to 741 operations in 2020, which also hit a record high.

Gasnam says Spanish ports supplied about 142,523 cbm of LNG during the last year, up about 17 percent when compared to 122,058 cbm in the prior year.

These volumes are mostly sourced from Enagas-operated terminals. Ports conducted a big part of these operations by a truck-to-ship method using multiple vehicles.

Also, the majority of these supplies ended up in LNG-powered ferries owned by Spain’s Balearia, followed by cruise ships, and other types of vessels.

Gasnam said in August that the number of ports offering LNG bunkering services rose from 9 to 14. The ports include Algeciras, Almería, Barcelona, ​​Bilbao, Cadiz, Cartagena, Denia, Ferrol, Gijon, Huelva, Malaga, Motril, Tenerife and Valencia.

However, 11 of these ports carry out LNG bunkering operations periodically while Barcelona, Valencia, and Denia hosted the majority of these operations in 2021.

Barcelona leads the way

The port of Barcelona leads the way in Spain with 236 operations and 65,050 cbm of LNG bunkering volumes in 2021.

Despite issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic and a significant rise in LNG fuel prices during the last quarter of 2021, bunkering volumes in Barcelona rose significantly when compared to the previous two years, the port said in a separate statement.

LNG bunkering volumes reached 37,500 cbm in 2019 and 39,150 cbm in 2020, according to the port.

Last year, Balearia carried out 218 truck-to-ship operations using two or more trucks, the Barcelona port said.

Baleria supplied more than 27,000 cbm of LNG to its five ferries in the port, some 41 percent out of the total deliveries.

In June, the Spanish ferry operator also joined forces with unit of Switzerland’s Axpo to supply bio-LNG to its fast ferry Eleanor Roosevelt in Barcelona.

Besides Balearia vessels, four Carnival’s cruise ships also bunkered LNG via a ship-to-ship method in the port last year.

These large ships took the majority of the volumes or about 38,000 cbm of LNG last year.

The port of Barcelona expects LNG bunkering volumes to rise further this year, boosted by the expected arrival of a new bunkering vessel.

Spain’s Armon Gijon is currently building Knutsen’s 5,000-cbm LNG bunkering ship, Haugesund Knutsen.

Enagas partnered with Norway’s Knutsen on the newbuild via its small-scale unit, Scale Gas.

Following delivery, the vessel will go on charter to Shell and work from the Barcelona port.

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