Total launched its first large liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker vessel at the Chinese Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard on Friday, following the signature of a long-term charter contract between Total and Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL) in February 2018.
After its delivery in 2020, the bunker vessel will operate in Northern Europe, where it will supply LNG to commercial vessels, including 300,000 tons per year for a period of at least 10 years.
The LNG bunker vessel’s construction is in line with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decision to drastically limit the sulfur content of marine fuels as of 2020. In this context, the transition from heavy fuel oil to LNG is a competitive, efficient and immediately available solution for maritime transportation.
Used as a marine fuel, LNG sharply reduces emissions from ships, resulting in a significant improvement in air quality, particularly for communities in coastal areas and port cities. LNG helps to cut:
- Sulfur emissions by 99%,
- Fine particle emissions by 99%,
- Nitrogen oxide emissions by 85%,
- Greenhouse gases emissions by around 20%.
"Developing infrastructure like this giant bunker vessel is essential to allow LNG to become a widely used marine fuel," said Momar Nguer, President for Total Marketing & Services. "This first ship demonstrates our commitment to offering our customers both more environmentally friendly fuels and the associated logistics."
Built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding at their shipyard near Shanghai, the bunker vessel is fitted with innovative tank technologies, with a capacity of 18,600 cubic meters, provided by the French company GTT.
Total is the second-largest global LNG player, with an overall portfolio of around 40 million tons per year by 2020 and a global market share of 10%.
By Murat Temizer