To meet the growing demand for a wide variety of LNG-related services, DNV GL has established the Houston-based “LNG Solutions Group – Americas,” which will offer services in all business, risk, and regulatory matters specific to the North American market.
With the increasingly strict regulation of sulfur emissions in force next year and the already tightened Emission Control Area regulation for the US, ship owners are likely to feel more pain by the rising fuel prices. For instance, due to the new regulations, marine gasoil (MGO) will likely see a price jump in three months, possibly as high as 30% in the short term, and a minimum of 20% in the long term. This has impact well beyond the maritime industry.
“Judging from our list of recently completed projects, you can clearly see that the market is about to reach a tipping point, from market, feasibility, and risk studies to actual new-buildings, export, and bunkering facilities,” said Bjørn-Harald Bangstein, director of Operations Maritime Advisory, Americas.
As of July, there are 116 LNG-fueled vessels (50 vessels in service and 66 on order). Of these, 75 are classed by DNV GL (46 in service; 29 newbuilds), which gives DNV GL a market share of 65%.
“We are now doing what we can to meet pent-up demand for LNG services also beyond the maritime industry by drawing on our expertise from oil and gas,” Bangstein said. “This allows us to offer an unrivaled set of capabilities, from major export or liquefaction projects to small-scale bunkering and everything in between.
”More than any other company, DNV GL has championed LNG as a solution for some of the main challenges facing the maritime industry: fuel cost and emission reductions,” he added. “Combined with the abundance of cheaper natural gas in North America, this contributes to a surge in LNG activities. We are happy to now see shipowners, yards, ports, bunkering operators, and LNG proponents, in general, acting to be well positioned for LNG.”
Bangstein noted that regulatory certainty is under way. “Through our interfaces with the US Coast Guard, we know that they are now finalizing the remaining regulatory requirements on a detailed level,” he said. “They are doing so in an open and consultative manner that involves the industry and prevents surprises and misunderstandings. Naturally, there could be additional state, county, and municipal regulations. But with a national regulatory framework designed to prevent major hazards using a risk-based approach, particular local variations can be addressed through risk assessments, allowing for a consistent and predictable national regulatory framework.”
Drawing on experiences also from previous LNG projects around the world, the Houston-based group will also offer class and advisory services throughout the value chain of LNG.