Gazprom Neft, Gazprom gas-engine fuel, and the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) have concluded a tripartite cooperation and strategic partnership agreement on developing an LNG fleet and related infrastructure. The memorandum was signed during this year’s Eastern Economic Forum by Gazpromneft Marine Bunker Acting CEO Alexei Medvedev, Gazprom gas-engine fuel Director General Oleg Melekhin, and USC President Alexey Rakhmanov.
The agreement envisages the parties cooperating in research and development activities directed at creating production capacity both for building vessels running on liquid natural gas (LNG), and in developing LNG infrastructure. The parties also plan collective engagement with shipping companies — potential purchasers of LNG vessels. A further area of cooperation concerns joint involvement in developing and fine-tuning the regulatory framework for LNG fuel usage within the Russian Federation: Gazpromneft Marine Bunker having already initiated the practical implementation of international standards in LNG bunkering in Russian shipping, in 2018.
“Three factors are of crucial importance for shipowners everywhere in the world today: economy, safety, and environmental friendliness”, said Alexey Rakhmanov, USC President. “High-tech vessels, running on LNG, are in increasing demand. USC, for our part, is ready to build them — tankers and icebreakers, for example. The corporation has all the skills and competencies needed for this.” USC is Russia’s largest shipbuilding company.
Under the memorandum the parties have agreed a joint “roadmap” directed at developing the bunkering LNG bunkering market, with USC analysing current technical capabilities for developing, building and certifying LNG vessels. Specialists at Gazpromneft Marine Bunker will be undertaking extensive and integrated analysis of projects to develop LNG “ship-to-ship (STS)” and “shore-to-ship” bunkering infrastructure.*,**
Gazprom gas-engine fuel will investigate the provision of LNG road transportation services, storage, and quay-side bunkering services using cyrogenic mobile gas refuelling tankers (“truck-to-ship” bunkering).***
“The economic viability and environmental friendliness of this fuel means the proportion of vessels running on LNG is increasing every year. Gazprom Neft’s collaboration with leading Russian shipbuilders and gas-engine fuel producers will help develop this new market — on the one hand by developing a domestic LNG-fleet, and, on the other, by developing modern, high-tech maritime and river-transport bunkering infrastructure”, said Alexei Medvedev, Gazpromneft Marine Bunker Acting CEO.
Oleg Melekhin, Gazprom gas-engine fuel Director General agrees: “We see considerable potential in LNG being used as a fuel for sea and river vessels, due to its economic and environmental advantages. This memorandum will make it possible to consolidate our strengths and experience in this strategically important area.”
Gazprom Neft is continuing the proactive development of its marine-products range, expanding sales of highly environmentally friendly oil products, one of which, in the medium term, will be LNG. By way of developing Russia’s new LNG bunkering sector the company is implementing a project to develop a LNG bunkering barge unique to the domestic shipping industry.
Gazprom gas-engine fuel
Gazprom gas-engine fuel is a single-market operator developing the gas-engine fuels market through Gazprom PJSC. Its key areas of activity are sales of natural gas as a marine fuel, building and operating gas refuelling infrastructure, and popularising the use of natural gas for transport through its EcoGas brand.
* “Ship-to-ship (STS)” LNG bunkering involves the direct transfer of LNG from a bunkering barge to a vessel.
** “Shore-to-ship” operations involve LNG bunkering from the shore, using a LNG storage and delivery system located within a port or in its immediate vicinity.
*** “Truck-to-ship” involves LNG bunkering directly from tankers.