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Powering up the Mediterranean LNG Market

The introduction of strict new European Union emission legislation is encouraging small Mediterranean island communities to invest in new power plants to accommodate liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other alternative fuels. This feature examines plans by five islands with markedly  small populations to switch to LNG for gas-to-power projects, ship bunkering and other uses.

Drivers Favouring the Use of LNG

Apart from European emissions legislation, there are a number of other factors favouring the adoption of LNG. These include technological advances, the prospect of new gas fields or pipelines, plus the need to cut energy costs and improve energy security.


The policies of the European Union (EU) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) encourage decarbonisation, from which LNG, as a fuel for power generation on islands and for propulsion of maritime vessels, is a major beneficiary. EU energy policy seeks to cut power prices, increase security of supply and reduce environmental damage from energy production. As for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), it introduced a global limit on sulphur fuel of 0.5 % mass/mass from 2020 and has agreed an initial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategy, requiring international shipping to reduce total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 as a matter of urgency.


Technological advances have made viable the delivery and storage of smaller quantities of LNG than was customary until recently, thus opening up new markets. For example, the introduction of floating regasification facilities and smaller LNG bunker ships or barges, have opened up markets previously viewed as uneconomic. As Shell’s Chief Financial Officer, Simon Henry, points out, “floating regasification is quick and you can develop (a market) in stages.” Also, smaller LNG delivery vessels are ideal to meet the needs of island communities and of shipping traffic. Portugal’s Galp Energy, France’s Total and Anglo Dutch Shell are investing in such vessels to fuel the growing number of LNG- fuelled vessels in the world fleet. As of March 2017, the number of in-service and on-order fleet of LNG-powered sea-going ships had reached the 200 mark with 97 LNG-fuelled ships on order, reports LNG World Shipping, March 2017. Read more

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