NEW ORLEANS—“It’s cheaper, it’s cleaner.” That was the essential message about natural gas at a conference session yesterday called “Entering a new marine era for gas,” presented by John Hatley, Americas vice president- ship power, Wärtsilä.
“Traditional fuel users will be disadvantaged in the future,” he said, due to rising costs for low-sulfur diesel as well as more stringent regulation of emissions that will require expensive and complex engine and exhaust systems. “It’s about the money,” he said.
Regarding concerns about the availability of natural gas as a marine fuel, Hatley said that Shell has committed to providing steady, reliable sources for the marine industry. He also cited the rapidly growing shale gas supplies in North America that will keep pipelines full for many years to come.
LNG as a marine fuel does require more storage space on a vessel, almost four times as much as diesel, which can reduce payload, but he said that can be more than offset by significantly reduced fuel costs.
Natural gas also emits about 25 percent less carbon dioxide and almost no NOx, according to Hatley, which means gas-powered engines will provide compliance for operations in increasingly strict low-emissions areas.
Hatley said that Harvey Gulf International Marine just announced that it will be building a fifth dual-fuel (diesel and natural gas) OSV at TY Offshore, with tanks and engines supplied by Wärtsilä, and has options for five more.