The Caribbean is well positioned to move to LNG bunkering as the shipping industry seeks to comply with the new global emission cap for marine fuels set to take effect in 2020, speakers at the S&P Global Platts Bunker and Residual Fuel Conference said Wednesday.
"I think in the long term LNG is really going to come into play," said Anne Ghent, CEO at Trinidad and Tobago-based Ventrin Petroleum. "Trinidad is a mature producer."
Discussion of how shippers, bunker suppliers and refiners will comply with the 0.5% sulfur emission cap stipulated by the International Maritime Organization for 2020 dominated the two-day Platts conference in Houston. Speakers from the Caribbean on Wednesday were more bullish on using LNG for bunkering compared with speakers on Tuesday, who highlighted barriers to LNG adoption including high handling and infrastructure costs.
Ghent said that while she sees the Caribbean eventually moving to LNG, shippers are currently taking a more cautious approach.
"They are comfortable with gasoil," Ghent said. But "a big question mark is whether refiners are ready."
Deepak Bhatnagar, executive director of Bahamas Power & Light, also expressed optimism about LNG in the Caribbean for both power generation and bunkering. Fuel purchases currently represent about 75% of the operating costs for Caribbean utilities, he said, which amounts to a drag on the regionís economies.
Using LNG in the Caribbean could reduce the price of utility generation by between 15% and 31%, Bhatnagar said, savings that would drive investment in LNG infrastructure.
Transitioning to LNG for electricity systems in the Caribbean, along with the installation of new renewable energy capacity, is expected to reduce current annual barrel of oil equivalent needs in the region by 45% in the next 15-20 years, he said.
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