WMU Joins Baltic Sea Region LNG Competence Centre at Go LNG Conference
Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, delivered an address at the Go LNG – Building LNG Competence and Business Partnership for the Baltic Sea Region that was held on 26 April in Vilnius, Lithuania. The main goal of the Conference was to establish two international cooperation platforms – the Baltic Sea Region LNG Cluster and the LNG Competence Centre of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR).
The President’s remarks focused on Strengthening the Bonds between Maritime Universities in the Baltic Sea Region - the case of LNG competences. She spoke of the dependency of BSR countries on maritime transport to support their economies and the success of the region in terms of economic stability and long-standing cooperation between countries that have allowed for networks and consortia to thrive. She praised the region as one of the first to enforce the IMO’s SECA-restrictions (Sulphur Emission Control Areas), stating that it allowed for the development of innovative and forward-looking maritime technology solutions. “When these restrictions will start applying to other regions of the world, those countries involved will need to look for on-going and functioning examples and solutions. The BSR can provide an excellent working example in this respect. Creating a Competence Centre that offers know-how on all parts/subcomponents of the LNG value chain is therefore not only cost-efficient for the whole BSR, but can also help those regions that are not well-developed in the field of LNG by transferring to them the existing experience within the BSR,” she stated.
In reference to LNG, Dr. Doumbia-Henry highlighted WMU’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular, Goal 7: ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and Goal 14; conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. She noted that the WMU MSc programme in Maritime Energy Management has attracted in its first year 17 MSc students from around the world reflecting the urgent, global need for higher education in this domain. The programme is supported by the Maritime Energy Research Group (MarEner), which has contributed valuable experience in relation to LNG under the EU Marco Polo project: On the Mos Way Network (OTMW-N). Under this research initiative, the University developed and delivered a training module for maritime professionals in relation to LNG safety. Further, WMU hosted the International Conference on Maritime Energy Management (MARENER 2017) from 24 to 25 January 2017 that brought together high-level speakers and over 300 participants from 83 countries to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding maritime energy management including alternative fuel options such as LNG.
While at the GoLNG Conference, the President signed an agreement among 13 educational institutions from the BSR to establish the new Baltic Sea Region LNG Competence Centre aimed at facilitating the growth of innovation, technologies and infrastructure in the area of LNG. By pooling LNG competences and educational infrastructure, the Competence Centre brings together educational and science institutions in order to create a specific network which will enhance access to LNG technologies and enable the improvement of knowledge in the LNG area. It will also strengthen the critical mass of LNG specialists, which is imperative for the development of LNG technologies in the Baltic Sea Region.
The BSR LNG Cluster is a business cooperation organisation which includes national parties from Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Poland which are now united to strengthen and to speed up the further development of LNG innovations, LNG technologies and LNG infrastructure in the Baltic Sea Region.