The unstoppable rise in gas prices has led one of the largest Spanish ferry operators, the shipping company Baleària, to stop using this fuel despite its heavy investment to use it as cleaner energy in its fleet. The company has opted for the eight ships that have dual engines, which allow the use of both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel oil or diesel to use the latter fuel, because the escalation in the price of gas makes it unfeasible to maintain their costs.
From the beginning of the year to the end of September the price of LNG has soared more than 350% and has come to be more than double the price of fuel oil, which is used by most ships, including competitors of the shipping company based in Denia.
In October the LNG has even surpassed the barrier of 100 euros per megawatt. The fuel accounts for about 30% of the total costs of Balearia, so that this rise directly affects its viability.
The eight ships with LNG represent an average monthly consumption of about 85,000 megawatts, as explained from the shipping company. Now these ferries will operate with gas to make their maneuvers in the ports, according to the commitment of Baleària of low pollutant emissions in populated areas, but not in the open sea. The gas allows a reduction of up to 30% of CO2 generated by the ships, as well as eliminating sulphur emissions and other particles compared to fuel oil.
That was one of the reasons why the shipping company chaired by Adolfo Utor and in which Matutes Group participates bet on natural gas as a pillar of its investment plan for 380 million euros, with the purchase of new ferries with dual engines and the re-engining of another part of its fleet to accelerate this change. The group has a fleet of thirty passenger and cargo ships.
From the shipping company consider this situation "conjunctural" by the escalation of energy prices and maintain its strategic commitment to gas. In fact, next week it plans to start work to re-engineer a ninth ship to LNG.