FEBRUARY 3, 2015 — BC Ferries has now awarded a long-term contract to energy utility FortisBC to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel the three new intermediate class ferries that it currently has under construction by Polish shipbuilder Remontowa under a $165 million contract awarded last summer. FortisBC provided $6 million in incentive funding toward the three new vessels.
The new 107 m LNG fueled vessels will accommodate 145 vehicles and 600 passengers.
The first ferry 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 Mt. 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.
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.