With the appetite for LNG-fuelled newbuildings strong, Norway’s Kanfer Shipping has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to build two 6,000-m3 LNG bunker and distribution ships
The Norwegian small-scale LNG marine transportation provider signed the LOI with China’s Taizhou Wuzhou Shipbuilding Industry Co. Once confirmed, the two LNG supply and bunker vessels would be delivered in H1 2023, with options to build additional vessels. The newbuilds would be owned by Kanfer and its partners, and available for long-term charter. Downstream gas and LNG logistics company Atlantic Gulf & Pacific is an investor in Kanfer Shipping.
Kanfer Shipping chief executive Stig Hagen told LNG Shipping & Terminals, “Kanfer is in concrete discussions with several parties as we speak. We expect to find a home for these ships within the foreseeable future.” He said the LNG supply and bunker vessels will be able to serve any size LNG-fuelled vessel. The vessels will carry out LNG bunkering via flexible hoses, but the vessels can be fitted with loading arms depending on the charterer’s preference, according to Mr Hagen.
Kanfer’s technology partner, CGR Arctic Marine, will develop the concept design for the vessels. Among the primary features of the LNG bunker vessels will be a mono-tank design with a simple arrangement and minimal boil-off, pure gas-electric power production combined with hybrid battery technology, and 500 m3 marine diesel oil cargo tank. The vessels will be highly manoeuvrable, equipped with Azipull thrusters and a bow thruster combined with joystick control.
Mr Hagen said the ships would be the “most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly small-scale LNG ships in the global marketplace.”
Added Mr Hagen, “Kanfer sees a rapidly expanding market for LNG bunker vessels as the world maritime industry continues to pivot towards its decarbonisation goals through LNG.” There are 191 LNG-fuelled vessels in operation and another 238 on order or under construction, according to DNV GL. About 10% of new ships in the global orderbook are being built to operate on alternative fuels, most of which is represented by LNG.
“The growing demand for new LNG bunkering vessels makes our decision well-timed, especially now that equivalent, newbuild vessels to be delivered in 2022 have already been chartered out,” said Mr Hagen.
Not including these Kanfer vessels, there are some 18 LNG bunker vessels under construction, with 27 others currently in operation, according to DNV GL.
Mr Hagen sees robust demand for more LNGBVs. “The need for the emergence of new LNG bunkering centres will indeed be critical as the trading pattern for gas-driven vessels will be global and very diversified. The existing hubs will also need to expand to cater for growing demand. This is one of the reasons why Kanfer is confident that the timing is advantageous,” he added.
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