Russia’s largest shipping company Sovcomflot signed on Tuesday time-charter agreements with the Hague-based energy giant Shell for two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled Aframax tankers.
The vessels are part of a series of six Sovcomflot tankers currently under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ unit, Hyundai Samho and due for delivery between the third quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2019.
The two ice-class tankers will be on time charter to LNG giant Shell for up to 10 years, with a minimum commitment of five years, according to a Sovcoflot statement.
The 114,000 deadweight dual-fuelled tankers will operate within Shell’s extensive global freight trading network.
These six vessels are claimed to be the world’s the world’s first LNG-fueled Aframax tankers.
Shell signed last year a fuelling agreement with Sovcomflot to provide LNG for four of these vessels. Shell will also provide the LNG fuel for the two chartered vessels via its own LNG bunkering infrastructure.
The vessels will also use Shell’s specialised LNG bunker vessels, such as the Cardissa, for fuelling in North West Europe. Shell will provide further supply points across North West Europe and the Baltic as it expands its LNG fuelling infrastructure, the statement said.
“Together, SCF Group and Shell are leading the development and adoption of LNG as a fuel within the tanker industry, committed to significantly reducing the environmental footprint of energy shipping,” said Evgeny Ambrosov, Senior Executive Vice-President of Sovcomflot.
“After proper experience of operating LNG-fuelled vessels, SCF Group will share its feedback on their performance with Zvezda shipbuilding complex, a Russian facility that is envisaged to commence the domestic construction of such large-capacity LNG-fuelled tankers by 2021,” he added.
“LNG fuel will play a fundamental role in the future energy mix. Chartering and fuelling these vessels highlights Shell’s commitment to LNG as emissions standards tighten. We look forward to continuing to build upon our strong relationship with SCF to support our trading operations in key areas,” said Mark Quartermain, Vice-President, Shell Crude Trading.