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Hong Kong eyes late 2024 to early 2025 for LNG bunkering

Transport Minister Lam Sai-hung noted, however, that supply remains a challenge.

Hong Kong is poised to enter the league of ports offering liquefied natural gas (LNG), as the government plans to initiate bunkering services by late this year or early 2025.

“We’ll start the preparatory work to take forward the LNG bunkering this year. We will conduct technical studies and start installation so that the LNG can be supplied sometime later this year or early next year,” Transport Minister Lam Sai-hung told Hong Kong Business.

Hong Kong already has infrastructure in place to support LNG bunkering in the region including the CLP Power and HK Electric-commissioned offshore terminal in the southern HK Special Administrative Region.

“This will provide a good basis for us. We [will] also invite LNG companies or suppliers to provide bunkering services so that their supply can meet both the buyer and also hazard requirements in Hong Kong,” Lam said.

Lam added that Hong Kong is also conducting a legal exercise to upgrade its legislative framework to allow LNG bunkering in the region.

Challenges

The transport minister underscored that Hong Kong is placing paramount importance on safety because the region’s port is “quite compact.”

“[Our] sea frontage is not too long to accommodate the number of berths and so, the ships, they are relatively packed to each other. This is the area that we will look particularly into to see how we can address it,” said Lam. “We are now doing the technical studies on the way forward.”

Transport Minister Lam Sai-hung

Another challenge in relation to LNG bunkering is “reliable supply.” At present, Hong Kong has yet to decide where to get its supply of the sustainable fuel alternative.

However, Lam stressed that CLP Power and HK Electric have already secured a reliable supply. “This is one alternative or one area that we can explore at the same time. There are other companies that have already shown interest to supply LNG to Hong Kong,” he told the magazine.

“As long as the supply and the bunkering surfaces are done in a proper and safe way, I believe reliable supplies of LNG will come,” he added.

Other sustainable fuels

Apart from LNG, Hong Kong is also exploring to bunker green methanol. Hong Kong is starting a consultancy study on green methanol bunkering.

By the end of this year, Lam said the region “will also be able to work out a plan” on how it can provide green methanol bunkering,

“The use of LNG is considered as a transition, because the degree of the greenness of LNG is limited, although it is greener than the conventional fuel. [We then have to think of] what is the most probable candidate for next generations and at the present moment, the direction points towards green methanol,” he said.

“When we look at the market, we see there’s [a] quite high percentage of ships being built will be equipped for use for using the green methanol as a fuel. That is why we are targeting green methanol fuel at the present moment,” he added.

Whilst Hong Kong’s next steps are geared towards green methanol, Lam said it will still conduct a feasibility study this year that covers other green fuel alternatives such as aluminum, ammonia, and hydrogen.
 

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