LNG will play key role in industry’s decarbonisation ambitions, suggests ABS survey

Source: press release, 4 May 2021

illustration: ABS
illustration: ABS

While nearly 40% of shipowners have still not implemented a decarbonisation strategy despite impending regulations, there is resounding confidence among industry leaders in LNG’s potential to help reach regulatory goals in the coming decades.

These are key messages from the panel of industry leaders and a survey of more than 400 attendees at a webinar exploring decarbonisation research recently published by ABS in the report Setting the Course to Low Carbon Shipping: View of the Value Chain.

The third publication in the ABS Low Carbon Shipping series builds from prior issues which have identified LNG’s importance among the various alternative fuel options, and looks into current ship designs, in many cases, starting a transition to alternative fuels with LNG.

“It’s clear the industry needs LNG as a transitional fuel to get us to 2030, it could also support the transition to zero-carbon and carbon-neutral fuels that are required to get us to 2050 such as Hydrogen. Owners of internationally trading ships are facing increasingly complex investment decisions as they try to navigate the most efficient course to the low-carbon future,” says Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO.

As part of its award-winning decarbonisation programs, ABS has simplified three fuel pathways (light gas, heavy gas and bio/synthetic) to help aid owners’ decision-making.

“LNG remains the clear choice today because of its sheer scalability, growing availability and high technological readiness among low-carbon and low-emission fuels, where Hydrogen and Ammonia appear to be emerging as significant fuel types for tomorrow,” adds Wiernicki.

The survey indicated the industry has solid confidence in LNG’s potential, with almost nine out of ten respondents agreeing that it has a key role to play in reaching IMO 2050. Among six fuel types, LNG landed the clear majority of the votes as having the most potential for meeting IMO 2050 decarbonisation goals.

Of the respondents confirming they had not yet put in place a fleetwide decarbonisation strategy, 70% reported that they had developed a clear understanding of their fleet’s environmental performance in relation to industry peers.

Key takeaways included:

  • The short-term IMO measures, EEXI and CII, create a challenging landscape for many vessels within the global fleet.
  • Life-cycle analysis clearly identifies the need for green fuel production in order to have meaningful GHG emissions reduction from low- and zero-carbon fuels.
  • The required scale up of technology for green fuel production is significant (by an order of magnitude) before low- and carbon-neutral fuels can be widely adopted by the global fleet.
  • The adoption of such fuels and the overall decarbonisation of the marine sector will be enhanced by the global economy’s efforts to address the impact of climate change.
  • Understanding global supply chains is critical to plan future fleet composition and renewal strategies.

“Although we are fuel and technology agnostic, ABS focuses on working across the board to help owners not only reach their decarbonisation and sustainability targets but hit them successfully, while maintaining a laser focus on safety,” says Wiernicki.

Download an on-demand version of the webinar here. Download a copy of Setting the Course to Low Carbon Shipping – View of the Value Chain here.