LP Brussels Director Mark Watts spoke this week to the Global LNG Bunkering Summit 2022 in Amsterdam, to brief the industry on the latest regulatory proposals from Brussels, set out in the EU’s Fit for 55 Package, on how European and international shipping calling into EU ports will have to decarbonise, and also brief the industry on the EU’s recent REPowerEU proposal, that will seek to wean Europe off of Russian coal, oil and gas, by diversifying gas supplies, speeding up the roll-out of renewable gases and replacing gas in heating and power generation.
He says: ‘It was also an honour to chair day one of the conference, and learn first-hand from experts, many of them members of SEA-LNG, about the key role of LNG, and its carbon free cousins, bioLNG and sustainable synthetic LNG, in decarbonising shipping. Great to see fantastic presentations on the increasing widespread use of LNG and bioLNG as a drop-in fuel, slashing carbon emissions and dramatically reducing, to almost zero, the emission of pollutants like NOx, SOx and particulates, and learn about the ships already sailing that are using synthetic LNG.’
‘Lots of hype about hydrogen at the moment, but we learnt that it is probably not available at scale until 2035 at the earliest, and it still has to overcome lots of practical hurdles like cost, the ironically the huge amount of energy to produce it, and of course safety concerns for the cargo, passengers, crew and the environment.’
‘So it remains a mystery why some regulators, politicians, shipping lines and even green NGOs prefer to see the shipping industry continue to rely on and burn toxic heavy fuel oil, some of it from Russia, for the next ten or twenty years or more, and wait for the possibility of hydrogen coming on stream, rather than switch now to LNG and its carbon free cousins, and benefit from immediate and significant cuts in carbon emissions, huge air quality benefits and of course immediately cutting the flow of an important source of funds to the Kremlin.’
‘The conclusion must be that energy policy is increasingly driven by emotion not reason, that the debate needs to become more evidence-based, and those informing policymakers must do it in a way that is more accessible, inclusive and understandable.’
Mark Watts FCILT FRSA is Director of LP Brussels and a former two-term Member of the European Parliament. He has been advising organisations and businesses across the globe on EU transport, energy and environment policy for almost two decades. He has been appointed a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He writes in a personal capacity.