A variety of sources, including The Times, have recently reported that naturally occurring gas seeps, originating from c. 2km beneath the Red Sea, are combining with shipping emissions to create a ‘noxious’ environment that is harmful to human health. Nitrous oxides are highlighted as a contributor – an unwanted by-product from the combustion of heavy fuel oil (HFO). Observers fear the situation is only likely to get worse, with shipping traffic expected to continue its increase.
The advent of LNG as an alternative shipping fuel may help to alleviate part of this problem. In a switch from HFO to LNG, sulphur oxides are completely removed, nitrous oxides significantly reduced and particulate matter virtually eliminated. This is another example of how natural gas, when responsibly sourced and used, can cut emissions and improve air quality in the short-term, whilst CCS technologies evolve.