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12.20.16 / Environment

Using BC’s natural gas to reduce global marine emissions

Why would you want to use natural gas to fuel ships? Well, it could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the marine sector by about one third — and reduce fuel costs at the same time.

According to Sarah Smith, FortisBC’s director of natural gas transportation and regional LNG, the current level of GHG emissions from ships coming into BC is 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year. Using LNG for fuel would lower those emissions to 47.3 million tonnes annually. 

This emission reduction would be like removing about 4.7 million passenger vehicles from the road.

Sarah Smith FortisBC’s Director of Natural Gas Transportation and Regional LNG

We’re helping two marine operators make the switch to LNG:

  • BC Ferries – we provided incentive funds for the construction of three new dual-fuel passenger ferries that will run primarily on LNG
  • Seaspan Ferries Corporation – we gave this Canadian company financial incentives for two commercial dual-fuelled/hybrid (LNG, diesel and battery) ferries.

In addition to passenger and freight ferries, LNG fuel can be used for large container vessels, car carriers and cruise ships that travel between here and the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, 70 per cent of the world’s marine bunker fuel is supplied by 10 per cent of the world’s ports. Sarah says the Port of Vancouver is well-positioned to become a global bunkering hub for LNG.

“We have an abundance of natural gas in BC and the ability to produce it and deliver it cost-effectively, all the way down to the Port of Long Beach, California. Our Tilbury LNG facility is on a marine waterway, so we have access and can easily deliver fuel to the Port of Vancouver. 

“We’re demonstrating leadership by offering a low-cost, low-emission fuel to the global marine industry.”

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