In 2023, the Port of Barcelona has experienced a notable growth in the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to ships, reaching 143,000 m³, which represents double the amount supplied in 2021 (65,000 m³). This increase reflects the port´s firm commitment to LNG as a transition fuel, consolidating itself as an effective solution to minimize the environmental impact of port activity and maritime transport.
After a period of decline in 2022 due to the price increase originating from the conflict in Ukraine, LNG supply has revived significantly in 2023. Key factors in this resurgence include price normalization and the addition of the Barcelona-based supply barge Haugesund Knutsen. This vessel, with a capacity of 5,000 m³ and managed by Shell, has especially facilitated ship-to-ship operations, tripling the number of these compared to 2021.
With this increase, the percentage of LNG supplied with respect to total fuels in the port has risen from 0.2% in 2021 to 5.8% in 2023. Barcelona´s relevance in the use of LNG has been strengthened, placing it among the leading European ports in this field. Various initiatives of the port´s Energy Transition Plan, together with the maritime industry´s efforts to reduce its environmental impact, have been instrumental in achieving this position.
LNG supply service to cruise ships, particularly those of the Carnival group, has seen a notable increase, with 66 operations carried out in 2023, compared to 18 and 14 in 2021 and 2022, respectively. In addition, the shipping company Balearia has resumed the supply of LNG to its ships in Barcelona, with 133 operations in 2023.
The Port of Barcelona has also witnessed the first LNG bunkering operation to a cargo ship in 2023, and is receiving regular calls from LNG-powered ships of various types, including some of the world´s largest such as the CMA CGM Palais Royal.
Of the 8,783 ship calls in 2023, 618 were by LNG-powered vessels (7%), twice as many as in 2022. These calls have contributed to an approximate reduction of 400 tons of NOX, representing a 10% decrease in the port´s total NOX emissions.
The Port of Barcelona´s strategy is aligned with its IV Strategic Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve emission neutrality by 2050. The Energy Transition Plan includes measures such as the electrical connection of docked ships, electricity generation with solar panels, and the promotion of new fuels, with LNG as a preliminary step towards zero-emission options such as bio-LNG, methanol, ammonia, hydrogen and biofuels.
In the short term, the construction of a green methanol production plant is planned, and the feasibility of a plant to produce biomethane from waste is being studied, which would allow LNG to be replaced by a carbon-neutral fuel. These initiatives reflect the port´s commitment to sustainability and its pioneering role in the maritime sector´s energy transition.
News and image obtained: "El Estrecho Digital"
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