(EnergyAsia, January 25 2013, Friday) — Norway’s DNV said it and Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) have signed an agreement to jointly study the feasibility of establishing an liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering infrastructure in South Korea. The study will focus on the ports in the south-eastern area of Pusan, and western areas around Incheon and Pyeongtaek.

Led by Sun Il Yoo, DNV Korea’s senior customer service manager and assisted by the DNV Clean Technology Centre in Singapore, the company said this will be one of the largest and most comprehensive feasibility studies ever undertaken to investigate the feasibility of using LNG as a bunker fuel.

KOGAS has formed two separate consortia with local energy companies to partner DNV for the study. The KOGAS-Kyungnam Energy team will focus on the south-eastern area around Pusan while the KOGAS-Samchully unit will help study the western area around Incheon and Pyeongtaek.

DNV said it aims to define the commercial opportunities related to LNG distribution and shipping by identifying supply chains and infrastructures, technologies for use in LNG shipping and bunkering, standards, regulations and issues regarding public acceptance.

“DNV is one of the globally leading risk management service providers that have extensive experience in LNG sectors. KOGAS has already cooperated closely with DNV on R&D and Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality (HSEQ) management. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership, to which DNV can bring its risk-analysis expertise in the LNG sector, and especially in the LNG bunkering field, and help us to take this LNG bunkering project one step closer to reality,” Yang Young Myung, KOGAS’s vice president, and Head of the R&D Division.

“For years, DNV has developed comprehensive knowledge of the entire LNG value chain. We are the first classification society to present guidelines on LNG-fuelled vessels and have recently been active in introducing innovative LNG shipping concepts. DNV is leading the development of rules and recommended practices in the LNG sector, including the development of bunkering standards. We are thrilled to provide our expertise to KOGAS, the largest LNG importing company in the world,” said Jon Rysst, DNV’s regional manager for South Korea and Japan.

Last May, KOGAS formed a consultative group with industry players to build an LNG bunkering infrastructure, develop an LNG propulsion ship and improve the gas supply to coastal and insular areas. The group, led by KOGAS, includes Korea Gas Safety Corporation, major shipbuilders (Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Samsung Heavy Industries and STX Offshore & Shipbuilding), classification societies (DNV, LR and KR), major energy companies (POSCO, Kyungnam Energy, Samchully, SK E&S and STX Energy), a shipping company (STX Pan Ocean) and industry associations.

By forming this expertise group and initiating R&D projects, KOGAS aims to expedite the development of LNG bunkering infrastructures and LNG bunkering vessels and make South Korea one of the first movers in the global LNG bunkering industry.