Gibraltar: Evaluating the risks and benefits of gas power, the associated infrastructure and bunkering operations

A report recently released by Lloyd’s Register relating to LNG infrastructure in Gibraltar has been cited in the media and in political debate in Gibraltar. The report cited is an evaluation study covering proposals to site LNG offloading and storage, with specific technical specifications for their design, in Gibraltar. The study examined the risks involved with proposals for two potential locations of LNG offloading and storage tanks: the North Mole Western Arm adjacent to the cruise terminal and the Detached Mole, to the South of the North Mole. It did not address LNG bunkering.

LR’s report, since being handed to the commissioning client, has appeared in the public domain and been cited in political exchanges in Gibraltar.

LR’s conclusions were that both proposals, as defined, presented relatively high risks. With modifications to technical specifications it is likely that such risks could be reduced considerably; whilst there are obvious concerns related to siting gas storage tanks near to cruise ship berths, modifications to the technical requirements and repositioning of the tanks could see major risks entirely reduced. And opportunities exist to assess other options or locations.

LR’s findings into a very specific tank siting proposal should in no way be seen as prejudicial to the broader opportunities to reduce harmful air emissions, support LNG commercial activities or LNG bunkering in Gibraltar. Our findings relate to the risks associated with specific and defined siting proposals.

The overall health benefits of reductions in local air emissions that are hazardous to health are important ambitions. This wider issues of reducing the risks and managing safety of LNG infrastructure in Gibraltar and the benefits improved air quality was not considered and was not within the narrow scope of the evaluation of two specific tank sites.  

It is also noted that reports of this type, issued at a preliminary stage, will be conservative as detailed design parameters and intended operational parameters have yet to be defined.