Shell last week confirmed its plans to build a specialized LNG bunker vessel to deliver to LNG-fuelled vessels in northwest Europe
. The new vessel will be based at the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and will load from the new LNG break bulk terminal and jetty to be constructed by the Gas Access to Europe (Gate) terminal. It will also be seagoing and, therefore, able to bunker customers at other locations.
Demand for LNG as a fuel in the shipping industry is increasing, due to emissions reduction requirements scheduled to come into force in January 2015, Shell noted, adding that the new fuel will also enable the industry to comply with future regulations.
“This specialized LNG bunker vessel is good news,” said Maarten Wetselaar
, Shell’s Executive Vice President, Integrated Gas. “Potential customers need to know that their LNG fuel will be delivered reliably and safely. Shell’s investment in this vessel, as well as commitment to buy capacity at the Gate terminal
, underlines our confidence in LNG becoming a bigger part of the fuel mix.”
The vessel itself will be built by STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, following the steel cutting ceremony which took place in Korea on December 4. It will have a capacity to carry 6,500 cubic meters of LNG fuel and will be efficient and maneuverable, Shell said. Featuring an innovative transfer system and sub cooler unit, it will be able to load from big or small terminals and able to bunker a variety of customer vessels.
Containerships Ltd Oy will be the launching customer of Shell’s specialized LNG bunker vessel, after signing a LNG supply agreement with Shell on November 24, 2015. Containerships Ltd Oy will charter 1.400 TUE container vessels, currently being built by Nordic Hamburg Shipping in China. The vessels will receive LNG fuel from Shell at the port of Rotterdam, after the LNG bunker vessel becomes operational in mid-2017.
Containerships CEO Kari-Pekka Laaksonen said the company has signed a partnership agreement with Shell which secures the supply of LNG for its first four vessels. "This is a vital component of our LNG strategy," Pekka Laaksonen said. "The process of evaluating the many different alternatives has been lengthy and extensive, and we believe the solution we have found together with Shell will be mutually rewarding.”