The fourth round of Gas Fest virtual workshops covered a range of issues that will be critical to the future of LNG and other gas fuels in shipping. Sessions on green financing, the pathway to green ammonia and communicating the benefits of LNG enabled participants to re connect and re engage with the Gas Fest platform and community.
In the ‘Follow the Money’ workshop, participants noted that the increasing range of sustainable finance initiatives has not necessarily increased theavailability of sustainable finance. Accessing such investment can prove challenging for many reasons, particularly for owners of vessels using LNG fuel.
The perception of LNG is one issue, but there are more general concerns; although finance is cheap in today’s world, banks are increasingly constrained by tight regulations to retain more of their capital and to value risk more. It is also difficult for investors to forecast future revenues to justify future fuel investments when fuel availability and even future regulation remain so uncertain. How will banks hit targets for sustainable finance, for example, when regulations like CII allow (theoretically at least) for ships to emit even more while complying?
For LNG in particular, communication is part of the solution to improving access to finance. This issue was also discussed in the ‘Having Our Say’ session*, where participants explored how to communicate more effectively about LNG. Near daily challenges to LNG credentials from some influential quarters show that facts alone are not enough. There is an emotional element to the shipping industry hype around future fuels; in the excitement, the role of LNG risks being marginalised and its benefits overlooked.
Participants agreed on LNG’s clear claim to reducing greenhouse gas emissions today; an unquestionable step down at a time when the climate crisis demands urgent action, rather than waiting for as yet unavailable solutions. It can deliver stepwise reductions in emissions as bio or synthetic LNG are used first as drop in fuels and then in full. There are also clear benefits compared to alternatives in current availability, existing bunkering infrastructure, high technological readiness and future flexibility. But are those messages getting through?
Communication from LNG stakeholders needs to be emotive and graphic while providing some much needed realism about the potential availability of net zero carbon fuels in time for IMO’s 2050 ambitions, and their potential impact on those targets. A brainstorming session (run on MURAL) raised some fascinating analogies and anecdotes; but the principle is clear: simple, visual and emotive messages are needed. An example of effective communication** was shared by long time Gas Fest partner GTT.
Interest in ammonia across the Gas Fest community reflected the fuel’s current high profile, leading to two sessions exploring how to prepare the pathway for green ammonia. The full pantone colour chart from fossil grey to clean green was debated and the many safety and handling challenges considered as participants sought to lay down some principles for applying the fuel to shipping.
The key takeaway from the ‘Regulating Ammonia’ workshops was that, although the challenges are different, there is a lot that can be learned from LNG’s own pathway to becoming an established ship fuel. In particular, the industry should be pro active in establishing safety and training best practices rather than waiting for regulations to emerge hopefully avoiding “ pandammonia ” as multiple projects implement wildly different standards and procedures.
The long-awaited return of the live Gas Fest event will take place in Barcelona mid-2022 with dates to be announced and as always will be by invitation only. To register your interest in joining please visit www.gasfest.com.
Image caption: The visual scribing that has become a hallmark of Gas Fest highlights the key points raised by workshop participants
Image Caption: Gas Fest community gathers virtually for the fourth time since it's last in-person event in Feb 2019
* We are currently putting together a draft of the communication piece to be published on behalf of the community please look out for this to share your thoughts and improvement suggestions!
** Please contact [email protected] if you’d like a copy of the presentation shared by GTT during the workshop.
About Gas Fest
Gas Fest is a unique ‘for industry, by industry’ platform that convenes key players across the fuel value system to explore the role of gas as a marine fuel in shipping’s energy transition. Since the first gathering in 2017 it has been an essential collaborative forum for identifying concrete steps to advance the decarbonisation of the marine industry through the use of gas as a marine fuel. From 2020, Gas Fest is hosted by the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF) and key industry partners.
For more information visit: www.gasfest.com