AG&P: Virtual pipelines to boost LNG fuelling uptake

Thursday, 01 December 2016
The firm has been responsible for developing and promoting a ‘virtual LNG pipeline’ concept, aimed at delivering fuel to remote locations that are not traditionally well-served.

“While LNG as a transport fuel has the potential to deliver both economic and environmental benefits for shipping, mining and off-road transport, trucks and trains, its widespread adoption will only be possible if it is readily available in smaller units,” Thomas explained.

LNG fuelling set for ‘exponential growth’ from 2020

The firm’s market projections for LNG fueling uptake vary across the marine, road and rail sectors, with road projected to offer the strongest growth potential, especially from 2020 onwards once missing infrastructure is finished.

“In all cases, the key to successful expansion is cost effective delivery and storage of LNG in smaller units, which requires a new and innovative approach to asset management and infrastructure development… Exponential growth is anticipated in the following decade as assets will become operational and customers will gain access to finance,” Thomas added.

Thomas goes on to predict that the use of smaller vessels to link LNG fuelling hubs to wider geographies will facilitate LNG market entry for a much wider range of shipping, transport and industrial companies.

“As an example, there is considerable interest in our new ultra-shallow draft 4,000 – 8,000 m³ LNG carrier (LNGC) that can access rivers and shallow harbors with a draft of only two meters. This vessel will serve as a ‘work horse’ for near shore LNG milk-run deliveries to locations with limited access and low water depth,” Thomas said.

Scaling infrastructure remains a challenge

Despite a positive outlook for growth in the AG&P’s home market of South East Asia, the firm predicts there are still many challenges ahead.

“The development of LNG as a transport fuel faces several challenges which will, partly be resolved with the development of appropriately scaled fueling infrastructure… In the marine sector, there is little doubt that the use of LNG as a fuel will grow, though the rate of increase will depend on the timing and implementation of emissions restrictions,” Thomas said.

Headquartered in Manila, AG&P has created a franchised suite of standardized products that include marine bunkering assets, floating regasification terminals, smaller power plants and LNG transfer solutions, all designed to meet help customers capitalize on LNG as a transport fuel.