French oil major Total reported its first large LNG bunker vessel, the largest built to date for Europe, has been launched in China at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding near Shanghai
Built with GTT cargo containment technology, the 135-m LNG bunker vessel will have a capacity of 18,600 m3, operating in northern Europe under a long-term charter agreement between Total and Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) signed in February 2018.
Total’s LNG bunker vessel is second only in size to two 20,000-m3 LNG bunker vessels ordered by Avenir LNG under construction at Nantong CIMC Sinopacific Offshore & Engineering Co in China.
After delivery in 2020, the bunker vessel will supply LNG to commercial vessels, including 300,000 tonnes per year for CMA CGM’s nine 22,000-TEU ultra-large newbuild container ships in the Europe-Asia trade, for at least 10 years. Those giant boxs ships are under construction at China State Shipbuilding Corporation, with delivery of the first two set for Q4 2019. These vessels are being built at Jiangnan Shipyard and Hudong-Zhonghua.
The investment in the nine LNG-fuelled ships advances CMA CGM’s efforts to reduce its global environmental footprint. Between 2005 and 2015, CMA CGM reduced its CO2 emissions per container transported per km by 50% and has targeted a further reduction of 30% between 2015 and 2025.
Total’s LNG bunker vessel is part of a growing LNG refuelling infrastructure in Europe. To date, nine LNG bunker vessels are operating in Europe and at least another 12 have been decided upon or are in discussion, according to DNV GL. “Developing infrastructure like this giant bunker vessel is essential to allow LNG to become a widely used marine fuel,” said Total Marketing & Services president Momar Nguer.
As of 1 January 2020, IMO’s 0.50% global sulphur cap comes into effect, drastically reducing the sulphur content in marine fuels from current levels of 3.5%. In this context, the transition from HFO to LNG is a competitive, efficient and immediately available solution for maritime transportation.
Used as a marine fuel, LNG can reduce SOx emissions by 99%, NOx by 85%, greenhouse gases by 20% and virtually eliminate particulate matter.