B.C. government joins the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and FortisBC to establish the first ship-to-ship LNG marine bunkering service on the west coast of North America.
To help address the increased need for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the maritime sector, the B.C. government is joining the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and FortisBC to establish the first ship-to-ship LNG marine refuelling — or bunkering — service on the west coast of North America, the company said in its release.
The use of LNG to power the world’s ocean-going vessels is forecast to expand and B.C. is well positioned to benefit from this growth.
According to industry standards, replacing diesel fuel with LNG has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 20%. Because FortisBC’s Tilbury facility runs on clean B.C. electricity, LNG produced there could reduce GHG emissions in marine shipping by up to 26%. LNG-fuelled vessels have a significantly reduced risk of a spill compared to those that use heavy fuel oil or diesel.
Initial findings from a study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for FortisBC show that a five-year construction period for LNG bunkering infrastructure could facilitate the creation of a cumulative 14,000 full-time equivalent person years of employment over the duration of the build and contribute a cumulative $1.8 billion to provincial gross domestic product. Once fully operational, a bunkering industry could have an annual economic impact of $930 million and facilitate about 3,170 full-time equivalent person years of employment.
B.C. is making a $25,000 contribution to the PwC study to fund environmental and social impacts analyses and a competitiveness assessment. The study is also building on work already done on risk, safety and demand.
B.C. has been in the LNG bunkering business since 2017. Five BC Ferries vessels and two Seaspan cargo ferries are fuelled with LNG from FortisBC, via truck. This proposal would expand to develop ship-to-ship bunkering so that large vessels can be fuelled from a fuelling vessel that fills up at an on-shore jetty at Tilbury Island on the Fraser River.