Shell Western LNG B.V. (Shell) has signed an agreement with Sovcomflot (SCF Group) to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel the first Aframax crude oil tankers in the world to be powered by LNG. The four Aframax tankers will operate in the Baltic Sea and Northern Europe transporting crude oil and petroleum products.
The signing of this bunker agreement marks the fulfilment of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Shell and SCF Group in September 2015 to develop Marine LNG fuelling for large-capacity tankers.
The ice-classed, dual-fuelled tankers are scheduled to come into operation beginning in the third quarter of 2018 and will be among the first LNG-fuelled vessels with variable and flexible routes.
More ship owners and operators are choosing LNG fuel over traditional marine fuels to respond to sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions regulations, including the IMO’s recent decision to implement a global 0.5% sulphur cap in 2020.
“This is another marine segment embracing the benefits of LNG fuel, making it clear that LNG will play a key role in helping the shipping industry meet new emissions regulations,” said Maarten Wetselaar, Integrated Gas and New Energies Director at Shell.
“SCF Group and Shell have an extensive and successful track record of collaboration and technical innovation, and at the heart of our joint aspirations is the shared desire to play a major role in delivering a cleaner and safer maritime environment. This is why SCF Group and Shell decided to pilot this breakthrough initiative to switch the principal fuel of Aframax tankers, the workhorse of the global tanker industry, to LNG,” said Sergey Frank, President & CEO of Sovcomflot.
As part of this agreement, Shell will refuel the vessels from a specialised LNG bunker vessel that will load at the Gas Access to Europe (GATE) terminal in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and a second supply point in the Baltics.
Shell supplies LNG
Shell is the first customer of a new, dedicated LNG for transport infrastructure. This dedicated LNG for transport supply infrastructure was announced in July 2014 – “Shell in terminal expansion deal to boost LNG fuel for transport”. To serve marine customers, Shell is building an innovative bunker vessel with a capacity of around 6,500 cubic metres to facilitate ship-to-ship transfer, and deliver LNG from the Gas Access to Europe terminal (Gate) in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Shell has chartered three LNG-powered offshore supply vessels, the ‘Harvey Liberty,’ the ‘Harvey Energy,’ and ‘Harvey Power’, for its deep-water operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Shell will supply LNG for the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ships being built by Carnival. Two of the world’s largest passenger cruise ships, the vessels will begin sailing in northwest Europe and the Mediterranean in 2019.