The European Commission has signed a grant agreement with Enagás and the Port Authority of Algeciras Bay, giving the green light for co-financing the building of the first vessel to be fully dedicated to LNG bunkering at the Spanish Port of Algeciras. This project is boosted by the Enagás start-up that specializes in small-scale LNG supply infrastructure, Scale Gas, and the Port Authority of Algeciras Bay (APBA).
The initiative, coordinated by Enagás, is framed within the LNGhive2 strategy, led by the Spanish Ports Authority, and the European Union program that contributes to the implementation of the Trans-European Transport Network, Connecting Europe Facility (CEF 2019 call for proposals), which will provide funding for 20% of its execution, approximately 11 million euros. The aim is to support the development of the market for LNG as a sustainable marine fuel, in line with the EU Directive 2014/94/EU on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure.
The project consists of the construction of a bunkering barge with capacity to store 12,500 m3 of LNG, which will entry into service in 2023. Once in operation, the vessel will be loaded with LNG at the Enagás terminal in Huelva and will then either supply it directly to end consumers or transfer it to smaller barges for subsequent supply of smaller vessels berthed in the port of Algeciras.
In 2012, the Port of Algeciras provided the first LNG bunkering service in Spain using a tanker truck, a service known as truck-to-ship (TtS) LNG bunkering. In 2020, seven TtS LNG bunkering operations were performed in Algeciras, a 300% more LNG has been supplied to ships than in all of 2019. Once operational, this new vessel will allow ship-to-ship (StS) LNG bunkering at the Port of Algeciras.
In addition to promoting more sustainable maritime transport and improving air quality in the Bay of Algeciras, this project will be a further step towards consolidating Spain and the Port of Algeciras, which is the busiest port in Spain, as the European leader in LNG bunkering in the Strait of Gibraltar.
The European Union supports the key role that LNG has to play in bringing about energy transition in the maritime sector. With the funds resulting from the CEF call for proposals, which has already provided funding for seven projects in Spain, it will be possible to achieve the climate goals set by the European Green Deal, giving priority to short sea shipping projects using alternative fuels, as well as the installation of energy bunkering systems on land in order to allow ports to reduce emissions from berthed vessels.
Up to November 2020, LNG bunkering operations in Spain increased fourfold compared to the same period the previous year. According to DNV/GL, the provider of certification services, there are 175 LNG-powered ships in service in the world. This new vessel will join the 20 bunkering barges already supplying LNG around the world and will strengthen the role of Spain and its ports in the field of LNG bunkering. There were six ports in Spain supplying LNG to ships in 2019, a number that has now grown to 11 in 2020.
These advances have been made possible by the developments and investment of more than 300 million euros made or committed by the partners in the CORE LNGas hive and LNGhive2, public-private initiatives, for which a total of close to 62 million euros has been co-financed by the European Commission. These initiatives involve 49 partners, 21 of which are public institutions, including 13 port authorities, and 28 are private or industrial entities.