A network of natural gas bunkering stations in the world has not yet been developed. However, because of ecological requirements in some parts of the world, the picture will soon change.
Recently the European Union made a proposal, accepted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), adding to MARPOL Annex 6, a requirement in certain parts of the world that by 2015 there will be a drastic reduction in sulfur emissions. That will change the type of fuel used in certain areas of the world.
Professor José Luis Almazan Garate said that Panama plays a key role in shipping, and that everything indicates that the drivers for binding environmental conditions will introduce the use of natural gas as fuel in the world, but the question is what will be the price?
“When the push for mandatory control comes, a network of bunkering stations will be needed, and the driver that probably comes on the scene will be the price. Gas is difficult to find to fuel a ship because there is nowhere to supply it,” he said.
The Spanish expert said that one of the natural points in the world for supplying gas is the Panama Canal and that it will be later rather than sooner that bunkering centers will be able to supply here.
Executives of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) have said at various forums that the expansion of the waterway will open new routes for the transport of natural gas, allowing the use of economies of scale for exporters and importers of the product.
With the expansion of the Canal a new segment of LNG would be created, although, as explained repeatedly by ACP administrator Jorge Quijano, there already exists a subsegment of LPG gas carriers, but “no LNGs transit today.”