Shell Western LNG has signed an agreement with Russian state 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 firms said April 3, 2017.
The 4 Aframax tankers transport crude oil and petroleum products in northern European waters.
The ice-class, dual-fuelled tankers are scheduled to come into operation beginning in the 3rd quarter of 2018 and will be among the 1st LNG-fuelled vessels with variable and flexible routes.
The UN's International Maritime Organisation´s decision last year to implement a global 0.5% sulphur cap in 2020 is among the reasons fleet operators have to switch to what is virtually sulphur- and particulate-free fuel.
The LNG supply overhang is a reason companies such as Shell are looking for new sources of demand for their commodity.
«This is an important next step for gas as part of the energy mix,» said Shell's Integrated Gas and New Energies Director Maarten Wetselaar. «We are proud to work with SCF Group to make these LNG-fuelled Aframax crude oil tankers a reality. 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.»
SCF Group built the winterized LNG tankers to service the Sakhalin LNG plant, Russia's only LNG export terminal which was originally operated by Shell.
SCF Group CEO Sergey Frank said: «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.»
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 2nd supply point in the Baltics.
To read this news in Russian.