Schulte strengthens position in LNG market with Pronav purchase

German group has said it aims to develop several LNG bunker ships in the future.

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Updated on 11 Jan 2018 11:35 GMT

Schulte Group has looked to strengthen its position in the LNG market by signing a contract for the acquisition of 100 percent of shares in LNG ship manager Pronav.

The deal is subject to merger approval of the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt).

Schulte owns around 100 ships (mainly in the container, tanker and bulker sectors), managing approximately 600 vessels altogether. The Hamburg-headquartered firm currently provides management services for 23 LNG carriers and has one LNG bunkering vessel and one 174,000-cubic-metre (cbm) LNG carrier on order which are due to will join the Schulte fleet in 2018.

Commenting on the Pronav deal, Schulte said: "The transaction puts the Schulte Group in a strong position to further exploit ship owning and ship management potential in the growing LNG market."

LNG bunkering vessels

As Bunker Index previously reported, the launch date for the gas supply vessel (GSV) developed by subsidiary Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) and Babcock International Group is set for April 2018, with delivery expected to be five months later.

The 7,500-cbm GSV, which will be used to supply ships and small-scale LNG terminals along the Baltic Sea coast, is the first of its kind to utilize Babcock's FGSV0 technology.

Amongst the key features of the new vessel will be azimuth thrusters and pump jets to ensure high maneuverability. Frequency-driven pumps with high flow rates will allow for the fast transfer of LNG to vessels with short layovers. Offshore bunkering will be possible using DP2 technology.

The vessel is to be chartered by a joint venture - established in November 2015 - in which LNG bunker supplier Nauticor (previously named Bomin Linde LNG) has a 90 percent share and Klaipedos Nafta owns the remaining 10 percent.

BSM has previously stated that it aims to develop several LNG bunker ships in the future that would operate in various locations.

"We're not talking about building one ship, we would like to build a significant position in this new sector. We would like to see multiple ships in many geographic locations serving this new fuelling requirement," said Angus Campbell, BSM director for energy projects, when discussing the firm's future objectives in the LNG bunkering sector last year.