Nordics move on new LNG markets

WARTSILA, which provided the engines for the historic LNG-fuelled platform supply vessel Woodside Petroleum is trialling on the North West Shelf, has inked a major new deal to foster similar markets in Europe.
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The company has signed a joint cooperation agreement with fellow Finnish player Gasum aimed at developing the use, distribution and service solutions for natural gas in marine and onshore applications.

Wartsila will provide the gas value chain technology know-how while Gasum has the expertise in distributing and selling natural gas and biogas, and the pair will share knowledge, contacts, marketing and business development activities.

The development work regarding LNG for marine applications will also utilise the expertise of Gasum subsidiary Skangas, a major LNG player in the Nordic market.

Gas as fuel is increasingly being used for marine engines and in power plant generators, mainly for environmental compliance. Exhaust emissions from gas-fuelled engines are notably lower than from diesel and coal-fired prime movers.

Woodside created history at LNG18 in Perth when it signed a deal with Siem Offshore to lease the 80.4-metre-long PSV Siem Harmony, the southern hemisphere's first LNG-fuelled vessel.

Woodside took a five-year charter contract with two one-year options on the vessel, which will be powered by four LNG-diesel dual fuel Wartsila engines: two 34DFs and two 20DFs.

The design calls for a Wartsila LNGPac fuel system with 230cu.m tank.

Woodside chief operating officer Mike Utsler said at the time that the Perth oiler's LNG tankers used their cargo to power their engines, making them cleaner vessels that use less diesel.

"It's natural that we progress this capability through to our support vessels," he said.

The Wartsila-Gasum project will go even further, and will be divided into work streams covering areas such as Smart Power Generation, LNG and liquefied biogas (LBG), gas as a marine fuel, operations and maintenance and biogas.

The work will focus on increasing sales through business development cooperation and building an LNG infrastructure in places where gas is currently not available.

The companies will also work together to develop cost-effective and efficient operation and maintenance activities.

The companies believe improving the availability of LNG will serve the present and future needs of both the shipping sector and industrial clients currently outside the natural gas grids.

At the same time, LNG utilisation also allows for the use of LBG without additional investment since the same infrastructure can be used for both.

Wartsila president and CEO Jaakko Eskola said the new agreement with Gasum would help speed the transition to gas fuel and advance environmental sustainability.