BC Ferries signs LNG supply contract for newbuilds

The following is the text of a news release from BC Ferries:

(VICTORIA, British Columbia) — BC Ferries is pleased to announce it has just awarded a long-term contract to FortisBC to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel the three new intermediate-class vessels that are currently under construction.

The first ship is scheduled to enter service in late 2016, the second vessel by early 2017 and the third ship by mid-2017. By the time all three ships are in service, FortisBC will be supplying BC Ferries with 300,000 gigajoules of LNG per year.

“We are pleased to collaborate with FortisBC, a safety leader in gas supply, for our new LNG vessels,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ vice president of engineering. “The use of LNG has both financial and environmental benefits and this contract will ensure we have a long-term, secure supply to power the new intermediate class vessels.”

“BC Ferries has taken the lead as one of the first passenger ferry services in the country to use LNG,” said Doug Stout, FortisBC vice president of market development and external relations. “This abundant, made-in-B.C. energy source can reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 15 to 25 percent, providing cleaner air for British Columbians.”

FortisBC has plants at both Tilbury in Delta and Mount Hayes near Nanaimo and will supply LNG fuel to the ships in the traditional manner that BC Ferries takes on diesel fuel, with trucks making deliveries to the vessels during non-operational periods.

Two of the new ships will replace the 50-year-old Queen of Burnaby, which sails between Comox and Powell River, and the 51-year-old Queen of Nanaimo, which services the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route. The third vessel will augment peak and shoulder season service on the Southern Gulf Islands route, plus provide refit relief around the fleet. These new 107-meter vessels will accommodate 145 vehicles and 600 passengers.

Last year, BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel. Even with the current drop in diesel oil prices, BC Ferries expects to realize significant savings by operating vessels on LNG, which will help with fare affordability.

FortisBC also provided BC Ferries with $6 million in incentive funding for the new vessels to help offset incremental capital costs associated with the use of liquefied natural gas.

Under contract to the Province of British Columbia, BC Ferries is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal British Columbia.

By Professional Mariner Staff