Korea plans LPG bunkering hub

A car ferry powerd by GE gas turbines is expected to be Busan's first customer for LPG bunkering next year A car ferry powerd by GE gas turbines is expected to be Busan's first customer for LPG bunkering next year

A consortium is planning what it claims will be the world’s first liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bunkering hub, in Busan.

The plan, announced by the Korea LPG Association on 25 January, envisions LPG bunker infrastructure (including ship-to-ship bunkering) being available in Busan from next year and a coastal car ferry is expected to be the hub's first customer.

The group believes that demand for the fuel – which it says emits 80% less sulphur, nitrous oxides and particulate matter than heavy fuel oil – will grow as a result of the 2020 global sulphur cap.

Parties to the memorandum of understanding include many of those involved in the reported plan to design an LPG-fuelled, turbine-powered car ferry. The ferry, which it is hoped will be built next year, will be owned by YoungSung Global and managed by Dintec. Designed by Far East Ship Design & Engineering, the ferry will feature GE’s gas turbine technology. The project team, led by Hyun-Seong MCT, has received approval in principle from Bureau Veritas for the ferry.

The passenger and car ferry will be operated between Korean and Chinese or Japanese ports. A shipbuilding contract with Yuil shipyard is to be signed in the first quarter of 2018.

The Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced a feasibility and safety study into LPG-fuelled ships in November last year. Further afield, Astomos - the largest LPG supplier in Japan – has announced plans to build a LPG-fuelled gas carrier by 2020.

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