Argentina’s first LNG-powered tugboat could be ready by 2022
A group of shipping companies is already working on a project to build Argentina’s first LNG-powered tugboat. The initiative aims to replace, based on the development of local technology, the consumption of more polluting fossil fuels such as diesel or fueloil, reported the EconoJournal news agency.
Silvia Martínez, president of the Chamber of the Argentine Naval Industry, detailed the characteristics of the project. The entity presented a technical proposal to the Ministry of Productive Development in order to unblock regulatory procedures and asked the National Bank for a soft line to finance the project that will demand between 13 and 18 million dollars. The companies are waiting for the State agencies to approve the financial engineering to start the construction of the vessel, which could be completed in 2022.
“We aim to finalize the first LNG-powered vessel in the country with the medium-term objective of being able to export goods to the region. Considering that fuel is one of the most important costs in the shipping sector, we have been investigating the advantages of LNG as an alternative fuel for six years. It is a benefit that reduces logistics costs and allows us to be competitive,” said Martínez.
The supply issue is resolved. YPF assumed the responsibility of taking charge of the supply taking into account that there are four possible systems: through a liquefaction plant, from ship to ship, through tanker trucks or with a method that is being used in Spain through containers.
The use of LNG as marine fuel is a global trend, especially because it allows replacing the traditional use of more polluting petroleum derivatives. “In Europe there are more than 600 LNG-fueled ships, and in Latin America the markets are betting on the change of fuels and clean energies. In Argentina we only lack the financing. We have shipyards, workshops, highly qualified workforce and the support of the universities,” expressed the president of the Chamber.
In order to materialize the tugboat project, the Argentine naval industry is carrying out joint work with Galileo Technologies. The construction of the ship takes approximately 15 months, however, Martínez stressed that “in 2021 we will surely have something to announce.” And she added: “The State is contributing with innovative projects. I am confident that financing approval will be given for the first tug at a rate benefit. The documentation has already been approved, so we are awaiting the final decision of the Ministry of Productive Development.”