Classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) North America and US-based LNG fuel solutions developer Penn Oak Energy Corp have partnered to help shipbuilders with liquid natural gas (LNG) retrofits.

Under the partnership, LR and Penn Oak are seeking to provide one-stop-shop solutions to the industry to help companies raise the required capital and reduce technical risks associated with retrofitting LNG-ships.

The challenges that shipbuilders face are the large initial capital costs to build these new ships and shipowners unwilling to invest in LNG-fuelled ships if supplies of LNG bunker are difficult to obtain.

However, according to LR’s LNG Bunkering Infrastructural Survey 2014, major ports across the globe are either planning for, or are anticipating, the wide-scale LNG bunkering development.

"LNG as a fuel has emerged as one of the most considered choices for a new generation of vessels."

LR Marine Business development manager Rafa Riva said: "LNG as a fuel has emerged as one of the most considered choices for a new generation of vessels.

"The infrastructure to support this new class of ships has started to mature, and we have seen great strides in companies willing to convert their existing ships to this new fuel or constructing new ships in the US Emission Control Areas.

"Our relationship with Penn Oak Energy will help provide the private equity to ship owners to undertake these ambitious projects, and assist those ship builders that the US will need to expand this growing demand."

Penn Oak Energy business development head Philip Parker said: "Working with Lloyd’s Register and various shipyard owners throughout North America, Penn Oak Energy has been able to sign up exclusive relationships with various shipyard builders to bring their yards up to specification on certification, safety and standards required to convert ships to dual fuel solutions."