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LNG bunkering marks number of firsts for Shell and Sovcomflot in Rotterdam

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Shell recently delivered its first ship-to-ship bunkering of cleaner burning LNG fuel from its specialised LNG bunker vessel, Cardissa, paving the way for many other operations from the vessel. This operation marked a number of other firsts, as it fuelled the Sovcomflot vessel Gagarin Prospect, the world’s first LNG-powered Aframax tanker. It was also the first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering to take place in the Port of Rotterdam.

The fuelling of the Gagarin Prospect with LNG pioneered the expansion of LNG fuel into the tanker industry and, in general, for vessels not tied to fixed routes or set timetables. 

Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President, Shell Shipping and Maritime, said: “This exciting first for the Cardissa is a tangible example of Shell driving LNG as a cleaner burning and viable fuel for the shipping industry. It is highly appropriate that we celebrate this first with Sovcomflot and their first LNG powered tanker, which we also happen to charter.”

Sergey Frank, President & CEO of Sovcomflot, said: “Together with Shell, SCF Group shares a determination to reduce the environmental impact of energy shipping. This was the genesis of our ‘Green Funnel’ project, and since April 2015, we have been working very closely with Shell on every aspect of it to bring the project to successful fruition. The first tangible result was the introduction into service of the world’s first Aframax tanker to use LNG as her primary fuel – Gagarin Prospect. Her arrival and inaugural LNG bunkering, by Shell’s tanker Cardissa heralds a new age of more sustainable and environmentally responsible shipping – especially in the high traffic areas of the Baltic and North Seas, where this new class of ‘Green Aframaxes’ will operate. We are proud to partner with Shell and look forward to a bright and cleaner future, as more and more vessels opt for LNG as their primary fuel, and the associated LNG bunkering infrastructure is established in key ports worldwide.” 

Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam, said: “The Port of Rotterdam Authority highly values and actively supports a more sustainable transport sector. As a result of cooperation with many parties like Shell and Sovcomflot we are leading the way in this transition. Compared to other fuels, LNG offers significant benefits to local air quality and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gasses. We welcome the Gagarin Prospect and her sister vessels to our port and look forward to many more secure and efficient LNG bunker operations.”

Shell continues to build a robust marine LNG supply chain across the world’s main shipping lanes. Sovcomflot and other industry leading ship owners and operators are increasingly choosing LNG fuel over traditional marine fuels to respond to sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions regulations, including the IMO’s recent decision to implement a global 0.5% sulphur cap in 2020.

Notes to editors:

  • The Shell Shipping & Maritime managed Cardissa can hold around 6,500 cubic metres of LNG fuel. The vessel’s seagoing capability enables Shell to serve customers with LNG fuel in locations throughout Europe. 
  • The choice of name of the 114,000-dwt Gagarin Prospect (owned by Sovcomflot) was inspired by the first Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin. The vessel entered into a Shell multi-year time charter in July 2018. 
  • A sister ship, Samuel Prospect, named in a salute to the founder of Shell Transport & Trading Co, Sir Marcus Samuel, is scheduled for delivery into Shell time charter next year. 
  • In February 2018, Shell signed time charter agreements with SCF Group (PAO Sovcomflot) for these two dual-fuelled Aframax tankers, which mark a historic turning point that sets new environmental standards for the global tanker industry. Gagarin Prospect is the first of these. 
  • This milestone marks the fulfilment of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Shell and SCF Group in September 2015 to develop Marine LNG fuelling for large-capacity tankers. 
  • The development of LNG-fuelled vessels, and the supporting infrastructure, enhances Shell’s position in Europe’s natural gas and LNG market. The now global trade in LNG began more than 50 years ago, when Shell brought the world’s first commercial LNG cargo from Algeria to the UK. 
  • Shell will supply LNG to the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ships following an agreement with Carnival Corporation & plc. When completed, the two vessels will be the world’s largest passenger cruise ships and will enter service in northwest Europe and the Mediterranean in 2019.

SCF Press Office