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Natural gas bunkering station to open in Chongqing

10 September 2014
China Gas Holdings plans to open the first gas-fuelling station for cargo ships on the Yangtze River in October, the Wall Street Journal reported, but it will take time for the country’s shipping industry to meet government targets for emissions reductions.

The bunkering station is a pilot project in Chongqing, which will serve the first few ships to convert to the LNG, but it could take years for most vessels travelling on the river to switch from diesel or bunker fuel.

LNG is more expensive than diesel in Asia, unlike in many other parts of the world.

“Current economic conditions within [China’s] inland waterway transport have been challenging, and are forcing some key industry participants to face continuous loss,” said Mikael Simelius, vice president of marketing at Wärtsilä Corp. “As a result, it might take some time for the industry to match the government's targets.”

Wärtsilä and Rolls-Royce will provide the engine for Asia’s first gas-powered tugboat, which is set for delivery to China National Offshore Oil Corp by the end of this year for use on the Yangtze.

China's transport ministry has called for 2,000 vessels, or 2 per cent of its inland fleet, to run on natural gas by 2015, and it wants the number to rise to 10,000 by 2020.

An LNG fuelling station for a tugboat operating on the Yangtze opened in Yidu, Hubei province, in May this year.

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