Shell LNG is to work with Project Forward to investigate options for supplying fuel to LNG-powered vessels and to assess the bunker requirements for globally trading bulk carriers, tankers and container vessels.
Project Forward is led by Greece-based bulker owner Arista Shipping, which has worked with ABS, Deltamarin, GTT and Wärtsilä to develop what it calls “a technically feasible and commercially viable design” for LNG-powered ocean-going, deepsea bulk carriers and tankers.
The project must also tackle shortages of LNG bunker-supply services. Although LNG is widely available, developing it as marine fuel requires bunkering infrastructure at ports, and specialist ships or barges to deliver the cargoes.
Shell is a first-mover in developing LNG-bunkering infrastructure, using Rotterdam’s Gate Terminal to supply LNG to marine and road transport and planning to take delivery of a dedicated bunker-supply ship to be based at Gate next year.
Project Forward aims to develop LNG-fuelled ships with long sailing ranges that it can adjust to suit different owners or trade patterns. Its goal is to develop LNG-fuelled vessels that only need to refuel at major ports.
Arista Shipping argues for concentrating bunker-supply in major ports to meet this emerging and rapidly expanding demand, as Project Forwards works towards launching its first LNG-fuelled bulk carrier “within the next few years”.
“Merchant shipping is under increased pressure of tight regulations on emissions from a range of sources and this will continue in future,” says Arista principal Alexander P Panagopulos.
“LNG is a cleaner burning marine fuel for shipping which can help ship owners and operators to reduce emissions of CO2, sulphur, particulates and nitrogen oxides.”