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March 5, 2019, 7:05 a.m. EST

Japan Petroleum Exploration: Launch of Study Group for LNG Bunkering at Tomakomai Port

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Mar 05, 2019 (Contify via COMTEX) -- Feb. 26 -- Japan Petroleum Exploration Co issued the following news release:

Tomakomai Port Authority and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. (JAPEX) will launch the study group aiming to implement the LNG Bunkering framework based on Tomakomai Port, located between Tomakomai-city and Atsuma-town of Hokkaido, (hereinafter "the study group") at the end of February 2019.

In International Maritime Organization (IMO), Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPO) has decided to tighten the regulatory limit of sulfur content in marine fuel in the general sea area, and adopted an Initial IMO Strategy which regulate the reduction of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from the international shipping transportation with its targeted objectives and specific countermeasures. Following these global trends, LNG (liquefied natural gas) is expected to rapidly increase its demand as a marine fuel, which emits less GHG and sulfur contents (SOx) than other fossil fuels. In response with these trends, the considerations to adopt LNG fueled vessels as well as the implementation of LNG bunkering have been accelerating all over the world including Japan.

Tomakomai Port is designated as one of the international base port by the Japanese government and plays important roles as the international trading hub in Northern part of Japan connecting to North America as well as China, and Korea, and is also the leading distribution hub ports handling the largest domestic cargo volume in Japan. In "Long-term Grand Design of Tomakomai Port" which is under discussion to describe the future image in the next twenty-to-thirty years, the implementation of LNG bunkering framework is listed as a necessary measure for the contribution to the low-carbon society, based on the trends with IMO regulations in recent years.

In order to respond to above trends, by utilizing pioneering expertise including Japan's first Ship-to-Ship LNG transfer experience in Tomakomai Port(*), the study group for specific discussions and studies concerning the implementation of LNG bunkering will be formed this time.

Approximately 20 members will participate in the study group, which are Tomakomai Port Authority as the port authority, the regulators such as the local departments of the government and port-related associations, private companies including the shipping industry such as Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., and JAPEX as the organizer. The first meeting of the study group will be held at the end of this February and the six total meetings are scheduled by March 2020. Discussions in the study group will be focused to define the challenges in terms of operation and applicable regulations and its solutions particularly in view of each method such as Truck-to-Ship, Portable-Tank, and Ship-to-Ship.

After closing of the study group, the discussion summary, particularly concerning the required rules and regulations for LNG bunkering in Tomakomai Port, will be widely shared as the insight, aiming to contribute the early realization of LNG bunkering in the port as well as further development of the port and its surrounding area.


[*] In the winter season of 2011 and 2012, Ship-to-Ship (STS) LNG transfer operations were carried out totally 54 times in Tomakomai port for first time in Japan, from an ocean-going LNG vessel to a feeder LNG vessel, in order to respond the peak demands from local gas distributors in Hokkaido. (photo on left:Distant view of the Tomakomai STS work / Right)

Source: Japan Petroleum Exploration Co

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