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Shell to supply world's first LNG-fuelled Aframax crude tankers

New 114,000-dwt tankers are scheduled to commence operating in Q3 2018.

Updated on 04 Apr 2017 08:06 GMT

Russia's PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group) has signed an agreement with Shell Western LNG B.V. (Shell) for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel the world's first Aframax crude oil tankers to be powered by LNG.

Shell has agreed to provide LNG bunkers for SCF's new 114,000-deadweight (dwt), ice-classed Aframax tankers that are scheduled to commence operating during the third quarter of 2018, primarily transporting crude oil and petroleum products in the Baltic region and northern Europe.

The agreement marks the fulfilment of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Shell and SCF in September 2015 to develop marine LNG fuelling for large-capacity tankers.

Shell will be refuelling SCF's vessels via a specialized LNG bunker vessel at the Gas Access to Europe (Gate) terminal in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and other supply points in the Baltic.

Each LNG-fuelled crude tanker will have an ice-class 1A hull, enabling year-round export operations from the Russian Baltic.

In addition to reducing emissions via the use of LNG, the selection of the low-pressure X-DF dual-fuel engine for these tankers is expected to minimize particulate matter emissions. Also, the engines will be fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to comply with Tier III regulations governing NOx emissions when in fuel mode.

SCF says the concept for these tankers was developed jointly by technical specialists from SCF Group and shipbuilders, including the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Centre and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) - the technology partners of Zvezda shipbuilding complex in the Primorsky region of the Russian Far East.

The concept was developed as part of the preparation for the construction of tankers at Zvezda, where it is envisaged that by 2021 the construction of such large-capacity vessels will commence.

"SCF Group and Shell have an extensive and successful track record of collaboration and technical innovation, and at the heart of our joint aspirations is the shared desire to play a major role in delivering a cleaner and safer maritime environment. This is why SCF Group and Shell decided to pilot this breakthrough initiative to switch the principal fuel of Aframax tankers, the workhorse of the global tanker industry, to LNG," remarked Sergey Frank, president and CEO of Sovcomflot.

"This is an important next step for gas as part of the energy mix. The decision to work with SCF Group to power the world's first LNG-fuelled Aframax crude oil tankers is evidence of Shell's commitment to LNG as a transport fuel. LNG will increasingly play a larger role in helping the shipping industry meet new emissions regulations," commented Maarten Wetselaar, Integrated Gas and New Energies Director at Shell.

"SCF Group has opted for these innovative technical solutions to ensure that the new generation of Aframax tankers exceeds rather than simply complies with emission legislation and sets the standard for shipping in the environmentally sensitive regions in which the fleet operates," SCF said.

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