Eesti Completes 1,500th LNG Bunkering
Estonian energy company Eesti Gaas completed the 1,500th liquefied natural gas bunkering operation at the Tallinn old city harbor with the Megastar ferry operating between Tallinn and Helsinki.
Megastar is serviced by eight Eesti Gaas’s trailer carriers which were purchased especially for this purpose.
“LNG supply has been reliable, and no problems occurred in the thousand times the vessel was bunkered. Megastar’s lower fuel consumption and lower environmental pollution level than we had expected have strengthened our conviction that LNG is a very good alternative to diesel fuel among currently available marine fuels,” said captain Tarvi-Carlos Tuulik, head of the HT Laevateenindus company, which belongs to Tallink Grupp and is responsible for operating the group’s vessels.
Margus Kaasik, member of the board of Eesti Gaas, noted that at the moment Eesti Gaas is the only enterprise in the Baltic states and Poland to have developed regular LNG supply and bunkering facilities for its customers. “By now, we have already significantly diversified our sources of supply, and we bring LNG from Finland, Poland and Lithuania,” Margus Kaasik said.
As far as the amount is concerned, since February 2017 Megastar has received 18,500 tons of LNG. Megastar bunkers in Tallinn Old City Harbor four times per week at midnight. Transferring LNG to the ship’s fuel tanks takes up to three hours.
Having started operating the Tallinn-Helsinki line at the beginning of last year, by now Megastar has done over 2,700 journeys and crossed approximately 126,000 nautical miles, which appears to be more than circling the globe five times.
“The new generation technology implemented on Megastar has been attracting representatives of other shipping operators, who have frequented the vessel for learning and training purposes. Those especially interested in LNG as marine fuel are firms operating passenger and line ships, which cruise between certain ports and major cities on a daily basis,” Tuulik added.
This year in March, Eesti Gaas and Tallink Grupp concluded a framework contract, under which Eesti Gaas will be supplying Megastar, shuttling between Tallinn and Helsinki, with LNG for the following five years.
Since 2015, passenger and freight ships on the Baltic Sea have had to use environmentally friendlier fuels with low sulfur content. Changing to LNG almost entirely eliminates the emission of sulfur dioxide and fine particles and significantly reduces nitrogen oxide and CO2 emissions. The price of LNG is expected to stay competitive in the long run compared to low sulfur fuels.