Natural gas specialist Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) has announced plans to improve its LNG bunkering capacity via a series of partnerships with global bunkering firms.
The energy firm has announced it will pursue partnerships with bunkering companies Shell and Mitsui amongst others and the commitment is expected to add further support for a shift to LNG fuel in the country’s maritime sector, spurring growth at existing LNG bunker terminals at Pyeongtaek and Tongyeong.
“Amid enhanced regulations of fossil fuels, the world is looking at fierce competition to explore sustainable energy sources and relevant technologies… Through LNG bunkering, KOGAS will preemptively respond to the rapidly changing environmental issues,” a KOGAS spokesperson said.
As the sole provider of LNG to South Korea and the largest LNG-importing company in the world, KOGAS is well-placed to take advantage of the fuel, with about 25 million tons imported annually.
Government support for KOGAS infrastructure
Part-owned by the South Korean government, the firm is at the forefront of manifold plans to develop LNG infrastructure in the peniinsula, including multi-million-dollar investment to develop new LNG bunkering at Tongyeong, in South Gyeongsang Province.
“We will develop 'LNG bunkering system customized for coastal vessels' that is suitable for domestic small-sized coastal bunker bunkering… In addition, it will support localisation development of LNG bunker equipment such as pumps, cryogenic hoses, etc., and establish LNG bunker equipment test evaluation and certification system to support commercialisation after technology development,” the government states.
Singapore knowledge-sharing initiative
Alongside investment on the ground, KOGAS will also spearhead efforts to localise expertise in LNG bunkering via increased knowledge sharing with regional authorities. A joint venture with LNG specialists in Singapore is also being explored, with Kim Young-chun, minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries calling the project key to a “new breakthrough in the maritime industry” for the LNG-related industry.
“‘[South Korea will] establish a cooperative system to share policy know-how with Singapore, which is leading the international LNG network, and lead the international LNG bunkering network to develop international joint LNG bunkering standards and procedures and emergency manual reports,” a government official commented.
Headquartered in Seoul, KOGAS currently imports from multiple countries around the world, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, Qatar, and Russia. The firm is working with government to support seven R&D projects developing core LNG technologies related to propulsion, in areas such as control systems and design optimization.