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Eco-Ferry That Needs Fuel Shipped In From Middle East

December 9, 2017

By Paul Homewood


From the Scottish Daily Mail on Nov 27th:

IT was announced with great fanfare as a new dawn in eco-friendly transport to and from Scotland’s islands.

But it has emerged the ‘cleaner’ fuel which will power the passenger ferries will have to be shipped in from a refinery thousands of miles away in Qatar.

Officially launched last week by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the first of two vessels powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) was heralded as a key weapon in achieving ‘Scotland’s world-leading climate change goals’.

Now transport chiefs have admitted the fuel to power the craft must make a journey of 8,141 miles from Qatar to a port in Kent before being driven a further 464 miles to the ferry terminal in Ardrossan, Ayrshire.

The ferries will need up to four tanker-loads of LNG a week, which means lorries will have to drive 3,712 miles a week between the Kent coast and the West coast of Scotland.



Launching the first ferry – the MV Glen Sannox – at Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow last week, Miss Sturgeon said: ‘These state-of-the-art ferries are more sustainable, therefore contributing to Scotland’s world-leading climate change goals.’

The Scottish Government’s obsession with green policies has seen it commit itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent over the next 30 years.

But providing fuel for the new ferry is likely to involve the LNG spending 20 days at sea before lorries burn thousands of gallons of diesel per week delivering it from the south of England. The Glen Sannox will begin operating on the Ardrossan to Brodick route next year, even though there is currently no bulk LNG production facility in the UK.

Operator CalMac will carry out a tender process for the supply of the fuel before the ferry – which will be the first in the UK to be powered by LNG and marine gas oil – begins service.

But officials have confirmed that at present LNG is delivered to Scotland by road tanker from the Isle of Grain in Kent, adding that ‘the fuel originates from Qatar’.

Experts say this situation is unlikely to change in the near future, explaining that a facility the size of the sprawling Grangemouth refinery in Stirlingshire would need to be built to produce enough LNG to be viable.

A spokesman for campaign group Scientific Alliance Scotland said: ‘The fact is there is no facility here capable of bulk LNG capability, so it has to be driven up from the south coast of England.

‘Producing LNG requires a major petrochemical facility, something on the scale of Grangemouth refinery. The foremost producer of LNG is Qatar, so it will more than likely be shipped from there before having to be driven up to Scotland. So it has travelled thousands of miles and involves a lot of fuel being burned along the way.

‘It’s important the public are not misled about this. The Scottish Government are hiding behind environmental concerns, when in reality they are really just exporting the problem elsewhere.’

The ferry is expected to use up to around 30,000 gallons of LNG every week.

The second LNG vessel has been earmarked for the route between Skye, North Uist and Harris.

Conservative climate change spokesman Donald Cameron said: ‘Shipping gas halfway round the world from Qatar to power our ferries makes the SNP decision to ban fracking appear even more hypocritical. Moving transport onto cleaner fuels is important but many will question the environmental benefits of shipping fuel 8,000 miles to get here.

‘The launch of our first LNG passenger ferry is a huge success story for Scottish engineering and it’s a pity the SNP didn’t give our drilling industry the same vote of confidence on fracking.’

You could not make it up!

  1. quaesoveritas permalink
    December 9, 2017 11:15 am

    Has anyone worked out whether it takes more diesel to transport the LPG than it would have used if it was powered by diesel?

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      December 9, 2017 11:38 am

      Sorry, should have said “LNG” not “LPG”.

    • Adrian permalink
      December 9, 2017 2:09 pm

      Good to see democracy working so well up here in the north tho’.

      Vote for cretins, you get cretins. And up here most of their abject stupidity is paid for by our friends in the South, thanks. The Scottish Nutcase Party do invariably seem to be out there with the loons. But it was their electoral position and they got elected.

  2. Jim Climie permalink
    December 9, 2017 11:34 am

    As someone who will have to travel on this ferry it is far from hilarious. LNG is basically methane or as it was know in the mining industry Fire Damp. Fire Damp explosions werte responsible for thousands of deaths before all mines had to have spark proof electric systems. When I asked last June is the Glen Sannox would be so fitted out the reply was that only the compartment housing the LNG tank would have spark proof electrics. That is not good enough, it threatens the safety of the ship and all those aboard her. The whole project is crazy and all in the name of saving a little pickle of CO2. The yard is now encountering technical problems with the new systems and looks like being atleast six months late in being delivered.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      December 9, 2017 12:08 pm

      Your “little pickle” of CO2 saved (assuming this is necessary which I beg leave to doubt) is going to be dwarfed by the whole jar of pickles wasted, and not just of CO2 either. Does nobody in government do joined up thinking any more?

      • Dung permalink
        December 10, 2017 10:50 am

        Mike Jackson for MP!

    • Dave Ward permalink
      December 9, 2017 12:08 pm

      “The reply was that only the compartment housing the LNG tank would have spark proof electrics”

      So nothing to stop explosions in the engine room then??? I venture to suggest that there is a much greater chance of leaks around the engines (due to their vibration), than in the storage tank area. It might be O.K. at first, but unlike a clearly visible oil leak, gas can seep out unnoticed (if it isn’t treated with an odourant) and settle in the bilge just waiting for a source of ignition. Diesel vapour, on the other hand, is so dense that it’s actually difficult to ignite it.

      • Joe Public permalink
        December 9, 2017 2:57 pm

        Hi Dave

        ” …. gas can seep out unnoticed (if it isn’t treated with an odourant) and settle in the bilge …”

        Natural gas is lighter than air, so will rise not sink.

        Let’s hope they have flame-proof lighting!

      • Joe Public permalink
        December 9, 2017 3:02 pm

        A possible consequence, but of a much smaller scale, if there’s no flame-proof lighting:

    • Nigel S permalink
      December 9, 2017 12:45 pm

      The restrictions on approaching the tanker when she enters the Medway give a clue.

      Click to access ntom-no-02-of-2017-isle-of-grain-lng-jetties-8-10-exclusion-zone.pdf

      Not far from the WW2 munitions on Richard Montgomery either.

      Saltpan Reach and environs has seen plenty of catastrophic explosions in the past.

  3. December 9, 2017 11:38 am

    What about ‎About Milford Haven ?
    “30 Nov 2017 – The South Hook LNG terminal company Ltd providing the UK with up to 20% of its natural gas requirements.”
    unless the Saudi/Qatari embargo is stopping LNG coming in ?

  4. Mike Jackson permalink
    December 9, 2017 11:45 am

    “You could not make it up”! Oh, yes, I could, Paul! This is simply the SNP at work.

    The situation is beyond ludicrous but then so is most Scottish politics. Virtue signalling with a vengeance allied to the increasingly arrogant, politically-motivated decision to ban fracking. The SNP continue on a daily basis to demonstrate their political naivety. Even Scottish Labour had the wit to realise that there are times when you have to get out and persuade the people that there are policies they may not like but which need to be carried out.

    Though when your parliamentary majority depends on the support of a party even more away with the fairies than you are, cool-headed decision making doesn’t come easy — or at all!

    • December 9, 2017 1:07 pm

      Is this an example of the “green” tail wagging the dog, in return for keeping the SNP in power? Germany has managed to avoid that fate again, but is now stuck with having to go along with loony-leftie policies.

      Brand Scotland does well out its “clean” local environment, but there is much false conflation with making futile and expensive gestures at the global environment.

  5. Nigel S permalink
    December 9, 2017 12:36 pm

    The Dilithium crystals are cracked, they canna take it Captain … At least it isn’t fitted with windmills too.

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      December 9, 2017 1:03 pm

      Actually, I have never really understand why there are not any modern, computer controlled sailing ships.

      • RAH permalink
        December 9, 2017 1:32 pm

        Computer controlled or not a sailing ship would have to rely on winds being fair to leave port unless they have other means of propulsion which they almost certainly would have to have anyway in order to do the heavy lifting and shifting of the sails.

        BTW it’s cold enough here in Indiana to freeze the balls off a brass monkey right now.

      • Sheri permalink
        December 9, 2017 2:51 pm

        RAH: It’s 32 in Billings, MT. Move north and west!

      • RAH permalink
        December 10, 2017 9:03 am

        Well Sheri I’m headed someplace warmer. Solo run with a load of new cans from Anderson, IN to Casa Grande, AZ. Longest solo run I’ve had in years doing this guarantee driver job. Over 3,400 miles for the round trip.

        I’ll get there by taking I-70 to Kansas City then I-35 to Wichita, KS to catch US 54 which will take me down through the wide open spaces of the Kansas grass lands and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. I will continue on US 54 right down to Alamogordo, NM where I catch US 70 to take me to I-10 west through Tucson.

        Much less in tolls, fewer big cities, fewer mountains, more warm weather, shorter distance, and about the same driving time as taking the normal route along the interstates.

      • Dung permalink
        December 10, 2017 10:55 am

        For how much of the trip will you be asleep mate?? ^.^

      • daver permalink
        December 10, 2017 3:11 pm

        Always good to hear from RAH across ‘denier’ blogs ;-). Good on you, pal.

        Bit chilly currently outside –, with many mountain tops blanketed beneath frozen crystalline water.

        Clearly, there’s something wrong here demonstrating the climate’s knackered.

      • Sarah Flavell permalink
        December 11, 2017 8:55 am

        quaesoveritas ???? Most ships are computer controlled but they still need fuel

      • quaesoveritas permalink
        December 11, 2017 11:25 am

        Yes, I mean’t computer controlled to get the most efficient use of wind power.
        Wind power to augment other source of power to reduce fuel consumption.

  6. Joe Public permalink
    December 9, 2017 1:29 pm

    The fuckwits who fell for the so-called eco credentials ought to be sacked. And lose their pensions.

    • daver permalink
      December 10, 2017 3:24 pm

      If I got a run of mis-labelled bottles I’d expect to get hauled in for accountancy ie. a real world value. Instead, so-called ‘climate scientists’ are given gov and media free reign in espousing manufactured beliefs.

  7. December 9, 2017 1:31 pm

    My first reaction was that you couldn’t make it up, but then I thought “this is politicians we are talking about”.

    • Sheri permalink
      December 9, 2017 2:54 pm

      I’m thinking I should gather all these truly insane ideas together in one blog post and add to it as things develop. Could be depressing, but it needs to be done.

      • daver permalink
        December 10, 2017 3:26 pm

        Go for it, Sheri.

  8. December 9, 2017 1:48 pm

    ‘Miss Sturgeon said: ‘These state-of-the-art ferries are more sustainable, therefore contributing to Scotland’s world-leading climate change goals.’’ … more sustainable than what?

    So we can now put CO2 into the air ‘sustainably’ – according to climate fanatics – and change the climate for the better. Who knew?

  9. Gamecock permalink
    December 9, 2017 2:06 pm

    Miss Sturgeon said: ‘These state-of-the-art ferries are more sustainable, therefore contributing to Scotland’s world-leading climate change goals.’

    Worth any price for her to be able to say it.

    Unless you think all this Climate Change™ crap is actually about the environment.

  10. John Smith permalink
    December 9, 2017 2:57 pm

    Strange. I understood that parts of the Grangemouth refinery were/are being converted to take large quantities of LNG from The USA. Someone is now building a gas pipeline from Scotland to Ireland and I have read that Ireland will import 85% of it’s gas from Scotland. The new pipeline can be seen being built across Dumfries & Galloway at this moment. Why do Scotland need to import gas from The Middle East when they are going to supply Ireland with 85% of It’s gas?

  11. Francis permalink
    December 9, 2017 3:53 pm

    I’m hoping someone will calculate how much CO2 is produced in the transporting and burning of the LNG vice what would be produced if the ferries burned diesel. (Not that I believe emitting CO2 into the atmosphere is a problem.)

  12. December 9, 2017 4:36 pm

    CO2 in the atmosphere is not a problem,
    NOx, CO, SO2 & soot are.

    Apparently –
    Compared with diesel, natural gas fuel represents the following reductions:
    • a 25% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2),
    • an 80% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx),
    • a 97% reduction in carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.
    Compared to traditional heavy marine fuel oils, LNG represents:
    • a 25% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
    • a 90% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions,
    • a 100% reduction in sulphur (SO2) and fine particle emissions.

    from –

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 9, 2017 8:37 pm

      Yes, you get lots of smog out at sea. Well, you might if the wind stops blowing.

  13. December 9, 2017 4:55 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  14. David Cooper permalink
    December 9, 2017 5:34 pm

    So, two ‘Ecoferries’ equates to 8 massive tanker loads of a hazardous gas driving past my front door every week on our overcrowded M6 motorway. Thank you Bonnie Scotland.
    Methinks a full CO2 calculation might help.

  15. December 9, 2017 5:52 pm

    Easy calculation: fuel consumption lng tanker per trip. Bunker C? Fuel load per truck per trip. Diesel?

    Previous fuel use per week, plus transport of same to terminal.

    Delta CO2 per week.

    Cost lng vs prior per week. Delta cost.

    Ratio for $/unit CO2.

    Hmmm. Interesting stats to determine logic of the shift. Otherwise we can’t say more than it “seems” stupid.

    Note I am a geologist who is a skeptic based on a lot of analysis of a lot of aspects. I object to the Drax conversion to American wood pellets on the same basis as (probably) this, but as we know, virtue signaling AND the EU rules encourage such foolishness.

    Numbers are what the alarmists can’t handle so we need them, otherwise it’s bait and switch to “every bit helps”.

    • L. Douglas permalink
      December 9, 2017 10:22 pm

      “I object to the Drax conversion to American wood pellets on the same basis”

      This gets even worse when you look at the kind of forests – also known as wildlife habitat – they are clearing to make these pellets.

  16. John F. Hultquist permalink
    December 9, 2017 8:45 pm

    Scotland. Wind power. Electric motors.
    A path not taken.

  17. Sheri permalink
    December 9, 2017 10:17 pm

    As a contender for “you can’t make this stuff up”, this headline at Think Progress (and elsewhere): “China spoils the launch of world’s first electric cargo ship by using it to haul coal”

    • L. Douglas permalink
      December 9, 2017 10:23 pm

      I loved that story when I saw it! Toooooo perfect.

  18. Mike Higton permalink
    December 9, 2017 10:57 pm

    As said earlier, it would be interesting to do a full CO2 balance on this because the liquefaction stage to produce the LNG is very energy-intensive and said energy is almost certainly derived from gas-powered generators. The transportation energy is small change by comparison.

  19. Vanessa permalink
    December 10, 2017 4:05 pm

    What a complete nonsense of, supposed “renewal energy”. This woman needs to have a brain implanted ! When we find ourselves in an Ice Age in the next year or two she will find her precious ferries too expensive to run. Then where will she turn? To English taxpayers I don’t doubt.

  20. Rudolph Hucker permalink
    December 10, 2017 4:43 pm

    Being a country lad I have seen cleverer cows than the 1st Minister s–t down their own legs before!

  21. December 10, 2017 7:00 pm

    Second sentence of your post (from Scottish Daily Mail):

    But it has emerged the ‘cleaner’ fuel which will power the passenger ferries will have to be shipped in from a refinery thousands of miles away in Qatar.

    Supertankers full of oil traverse the seas in all directions. Are there economic or environmental reasons that make this project particularly egregious, aside from the obvious clash with its virtue-signalling purpose?

  22. Vernon E permalink
    December 10, 2017 7:04 pm

    Refineries, petrochemicals, LPG, ethane, and green cheese. What a load of gibberish. The essential point is made though that the terrestrial transportation costs and eco-effects outweigh the benefits. Scotland already has (or had) a capability to produce LNG at Glenmavis which is (was?) for peak-shave for the gas grid but small scale LNG is perfectly viable and the huge base-load plants in Qatar etc just maximise the economies of scale.

  23. Thx1138 permalink
    December 11, 2017 10:02 am

    But, but the LNG has electrolytes!

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