Arctic Marine Natural Gas Supply Chain Study

Executive Summary

A study of the feasibility, benefits, and risks of the use of natural gas in the Canadian Arctic

Climate change is impacting the Arctic environment and the economy. As the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice melts, new marine shipping routes will open, creating questions as to how to best balance the use and protection of these ecologically sensitive waters.

The Arctic Marine Natural Gas Supply Chain Study, led by the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA), VARD Marine, and Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping (Clear Seas) with support from Transport Canada’s Innovation Centre, will investigate the feasibility, benefits and risks of the use of natural gas to replace some or all of the current diesel and heavy fuel oil used in the Canadian Arctic. This switch could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, and other criteria air contaminants, such as particulate matter and carbon monoxide, by 80% or more.

The project will explore all issues associated with the development of a natural gas marine supply chain for the Canadian Arctic, capable of supplying natural gas fuel to vessels, coastal communities, mines, and other businesses in a region with limited infrastructure and high environmental sensitivity. The project will include full analysis of the environmental benefits and risks, cost estimation for vessels (new-builds and conversions), assessment of the payback periods and rates of return on investments, strategies for the development of infrastructure, and means of dealing with regulatory and other concerns.

While the project is presented as a stand-alone proposal, it will build on two earlier and highly successful projects involving CNGVA, Transport Canada-Innovation Centre, and others in assessing natural gas use on Canada’s west and east coasts.