China's tech hub Shenzhen realizes ship-to-ship LNG refueling operation

Ship-to-ship LNG refueling operation in progress, Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, November 23, 2022. (Photo: China Media Group)

The tech hub of Shenzhen City in south China's Guangdong Province has realized ship-to-ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) refueling at its Yantian Port, with the first LNG refueling of its kind successfully operated on Wednesday, paving the way for ship refueling with the cleaner and more sustainable fuel of LNG at one of the world's top shipping hubs.

The six-hour operation saw a 23,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) LNG-powered container ship refueled with around 7,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas using China's first independently developed LNG bunkering ship at the Yantian Port.

The Yantian Port has thus become the fourth in the world to be capable of providing LNG refueling services, after the ports of Singapore, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the Chinese metropolis Shanghai.

"Compared with previous refueling operations, the latest ship-to-ship refueling work at the Yantian Port can realize operations of cargo loading/offloading and LNG refueling simultaneously. The berthed LNG ship will no longer have to travel a long way to the port of Shanghai, Singapore or even Europe for refueling, thus cutting the vessel turnaround times by at least one week and significantly improving the efficiency of vessel docking and loading/offloading as well as the operation of international ports," said Wang Jianhua, general manager of the Shenzhen CNPC International LPG Gas Filling Co., Ltd.

Wednesday's refueling operation was conducted by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the country's largest oil and gas producer and supplier.

"This first LNG refueling operation for an international container vessel here has filled the gap of refueling of international ships with liquefied natural gas in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. It will play a leading demonstrative role in exploring LNG refueling of offshore ships and serving green development of international shipping," said Fu Bin, Party committee secretary of the China National Petroleum Corporation Natural Gas Sales Branch.

The use of LNG as a marine fuel has been gaining traction in China and other parts of the world amid a global push to reduce carbon emissions, and the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen has been a pioneer in developing offshore LNG refueling, as an important part of the country's decarbonization strategy.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area refers to a world-class city cluster that extends across the two Chinese special administrative regions and nine Pearl River Delta cities in neighboring Guangdong Province.