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Details of a new LNG production facility and marine fuel supply business at Port Hedland in Western Australia include the development by class society RINA of a design concept for an LNG-fuelled 209,000 DWT Newcastlemax dry bulk ship incorporating pre-combustion carbon removal and hydrogen production. Pilbara Clean Fuels (PCF), Oceania Marine Energy (Oceania) and RINA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the project which will also include PCF’s development of an electrified LNG plant in Port Hedland for the production of LNG bunker fuel and Oceania’s creation of a bunkering business using a bespoke LNG refuelling vessel to be chartered from Norway’s Kanfer Shipping.

The project will provide an Australian LNG fuel supply capability to bunker r dry-bulk iron ore carriers operating ‘round-trip’ voyages between the Pilbara and Asia. Port Hedland, the location of the proposed LNG production facility, is the world’s largest iron ore export port. The base-case capacity of the plant is 0.5 Mtpa, with market analysis for Port Hedland alone (not counting other major Pilbara ports) indicating potential demand of 1.0 Mtpa by 2030.

A key feature of the project is an electrified plant with outsourced power supplied predominantly from renewable sources. The design intent is to significantly reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions compared to conventional LNG plants, thereby providing a capability for round-trip voyages bunkering in Port Hedland to achieve substantially lower overall GHG life-cycle emissions than other options. The LNG refuelling concept is based on ship-to-ship bunkering of vessels while at anchor off Port Hedland.

The Newcastlemax design to be developed by RINA will be aimed at meeting and exceeding IMO 2050 Carbon Intensity Index objectives.

The RINA fuel system concept involves the capture, onboard storage and offloading of liquefied carbon dioxide or solid carbon at loading or discharge ports for onshore handling, monetisation or disposal. The concept is described as providing ‘a credible line-of-sight pathway to “zero emissions” for using LNG as a marine fuel.In a joint statement announcing the project, the partners noted that: ‘By solving the historic criticism of LNG as being only a “transition fuel”, rather than having a long-term future as a “zero emissions” fuel, this solution is likely to be welcomed by the marine engineering community due to the extensive maritime operational experience of LNG and its known safe handling characteristics.’

PCF Managing Director, Robert Malabar commented on the initiative: ‘Along with our existing partners Oceania, we are delighted to have formed the new collaborative relationship with RINA. The partnership has the ability to demonstrate an attractive commercial development strategy to meet not only the immediate needs of IMO 2030 emissions compliance, but the engineering step-change needed to create a practical path to IMO 2050 net-zero emissions objectivesWe know the maritime community is happy with LNG as a marine fuel. We believe the outcome of the studies should provide compelling argument in support of the Western Australian Government’s May 2020 announcement to “Create an International LNG Fuelling Hub in the Pilbara.”’

Speaking to Bunkerspot in February this year, the Oceania’s Managing Director, Nick Bentley, said that the development of bunkering infrastructure in a region with such competitively priced LNG has the potential to steer marine LNG volumes away from Asian ports.

Source : Bunkerspot