ENVIRONMENTALISTS WELCOME RUSSIAN-FINNISH STATEMENT ON REPLACING HEAVY FUEL OIL WITH LNG
Environmentalists are campaigning to ban the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, proposing that it be replaced with alternative fuels.
"The risks associated with using heavy fuel oil on ships are just too great. We wholeheartedly welcome the fact that presidents Vladimir Putin and Sauli Niinistö want their countries to switch to more environmentally friendly marine fuel, such as LNG, in the Arctic," notes Alexey Knizhnikov, Head of WWF Russia Program for the Environmental Policy of the Fuel and Energy Complex. "Now we only need to wait until the official position of the Russian delegation on this issue is adjusted in accordance with Vladimir Putin's statement. We hope that the proposed amendments will have been adopted by the time of the 73rd session of the Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC73) of the International Maritime Organization, which will be held in London in October this year."
This April, during the 72nd meeting of the IMO, 8 countries put forward an initiative to ban the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. Back then, Russia did not support the initiative.
On August 22, 2018, at a joint press conference with Finnish president Sauli Niinistö, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the proposal to use liquefied natural gas as marine fuel in the Arctic was "absolutely correct".
"Perhaps, the first and easiest step that could be taken would be fighting the black carbon or soot. Today, some actions are already underway, for example, in the territory of the Kola Peninsula measures are being implemented to switch to more environmentally friendly fuels used in thermal power plants... Another measure that could be taken would be to change the fuel used by ships in the Arctic from fuel oil and other heavier fractions to liquefied natural gas," suggested Finnish president, thus offering topics for the Arctic Summit’s agenda.
Vladimir Putin commented on Sauli Niinistö’s words: "Mr. President has just spoken of the necessity to start using more environmentally friendly fuels in the Arctic, and that is an absolutely correct proposal."
About 75% of all the fuels currently used in Arctic shipping are heavy fuel oil or residual fuel oil. Accidental fuel oil spills cause a tremendous amount of harm both to the indigenous peoples of the Arctic and marine ecosystems. It takes a very long time for fuel oil to break down in cold water and accidental spills of petroleum products are practically impossible to liquidate in ice conditions. In addition, the use of fuel oil results in the release of such contaminants as sulfur oxide and soot particles (black carbon) into the atmosphere. For these reasons, such marine fuel has already been banned in the Antarctic.
Photo in the template: (с) Dmitry Ryabov / WWF Russia.