In a groundbreaking development at the POSCO raw material dock in Gwangyang Port, Korea, the successful execution of simultaneous liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply (bunkering) and unloading using the ‘ship to ship (STS) method’ has been demonstrated. This achievement marks a significant milestone as it takes place at Korea’s first trade port unloading dock.
Korea LNG Bunkering Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Korea Gas Corporation, is spearheading this achievement with ‘Simultaneous Operations (SIMOPS) for LNG bunkering.’ They employed the LNG bunkering ship ‘Blue Whale’ and utilized domestic cargo hold (KC-2) technology to successfully carry out this operation, which involves supplying LNG fuel to ships while they are unloading cargo.
Simultaneous operations are a crucial component of the LNG bunkering business as they reduce additional docking time and costs associated with fuel supply. Historically, simultaneous LNG bunkering has been conducted in various global locations such as Helsinki, Amsterdam, Singapore, and Shanghai.
Korea LNG Bunkering Co., Ltd. played a pivotal role by transporting LNG from the Tongyeong production base to the LNG bunkering vessel ‘Blue Whale.’ Approximately 1,000 tons of LNG was then supplied to the LNG dual fuel propulsion vessel using the STS method.
This successful operation was made possible through close collaboration with key organizations, including the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Yeosu Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries, H-Line, POSCO, and Korea Register of Shipping.
A representative from KOGAS expressed optimism about the future, stating, “The success of simultaneous LNG bunkering operations in domestic ports, following major overseas ports, will be a new milestone in the domestic bunkering industry. Korea LNG Bunkering Co., Ltd. is poised to further enhance its position as a leading LNG bunkering company and contribute to securing national port competitiveness.”
The growth of LNG-powered ships is in line with the International Maritime Organization’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy, with orders and operations of LNG-powered ships on the rise. Given this trend, LNG bunkering via ships has gained traction globally since the early 2000s, including the preferred method of simultaneous operation of ship fuel supply and cargo unloading (STS bunkering) to reduce costs.
In Korea, challenges have included a lack of LNG bunkering performance and understanding, coupled with the need for safety regulations imposed by administrative authorities. This has led to limitations on the use of berths and the implementation of LNG bunkering using the STS method at trade port loading/unloading docks.
To address these issues, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries designated Korea LNG Bunkering Co., Ltd. as the sole business operator with a dedicated LNG bunkering vessel in Korea. This designation allows for a reduction in port facility usage fees, benefiting the demonstration of STS-type LNG bunkering and cargo unloading at domestic trade ports. Rapid review and approval of self-safety management plans have facilitated the successful simultaneous operations.
The CEO of Yeosu Gwangyang Port Authority, Park Seong-hyun, emphasized, “Yeosu Gwangyang Port is the largest port in Korea in terms of import and export volume, and has sufficient infrastructure for importing, storing and supplying eco-friendly ship fuels such as LNG, methanol and ammonia.” He added, “In the future, domestic energy companies, Busan Port Authority, etc. We will strive to strengthen cooperation with related organizations so that Korea can grow into a base for supplying eco-friendly marine fuel.”
Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Cho Seung-hwan, Said, “In accordance with the International Maritime Organization’s 2050 net-zero carbon emissions goal, the ability to supply eco-friendly marine fuel is expected to emerge as a key element in strengthening the competitiveness of ports in the future.”
“The demonstration is significant in that it informs international shipping companies that simultaneous STS supply and unloading is possible at our ports and lays the foundation for the development of the LNG bunkering industry. In the future, we will continue to provide support so that simultaneous LNG bunkering can be demonstrated on various ships, including container ships, at major domestic ports such as Busan Port.”
Source Korea LNG Bunkering