Qatar Petroleum and Shell to Establish Global LNG Bunkering Venture

Source: Qatar Petroleum
Source: Qatar Petroleum

Published Sep 19, 2019 1:04 AM by The Maritime Executive

Qatar Petroleum and Shell have signed an agreement today to establish a global LNG bunkering company.

The agreement signed by Qatar Petroleum’s Wave LNG Solutions and Shell Gas & Power Developments B.V. paves the way for the establishment of a joint venture company owned equally by both parties.

LNG demand for bunkering is expected to grow significantly over the coming years, and Qatar Petroleum expects demand to reach 35 million tons per annum by 2035.

The International Energy Agency estimates that use of natural gas for transportation could grow by as much as 14 percent between 2016 and 2022. According to DNV GL, there were 154 LNG vessels in operation and 146 vessels on order as of April 2019.

Shell Aleady Active in LNG Bunkering Market

In June, Europe’s first inland-waterway LNG bunker vessel performed her first bunkering operations, with the Containerships Polar and Containerships Nord, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The LNG London (which is owned by LNG Shipping – a cooperation between Victrol and Sogestran) is on long-term charter to Shell. It will primarily be used by Shell for LNG bunkering in the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp.

LNG London will be loaded with LNG at the Gate terminal in Rotterdam. An innovative transfer system enables delivery of LNG to seagoing vessels, inland barges and terminals onshore, while a restricted air draft allows the barge to sail via inland waterways to Antwerp and Amsterdam, if required.

LNG London is 110 meters long and 15 meters wide, with a cargo capacity of 3,000 cubic meters of LNG. The LNG is transported in four vacuum tanks covered by a top-deck to protect them. The vessel has three thrusters that help to power the ship and ensure it is highly maneuverable.

In October last year, Shell delivered its first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering from its specialised LNG bunker vessel, Cardissa. The operation marked a number of 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 was the first operation under the LNG fuel supply agreement between Shell and Sovcomflot signed in 2017. This pioneered the expansion of LNG fuel into the tanker industry and, in general, for vessels not tied to fixed routes or set timetables.

The Shell Shipping & Maritime managed Cardissa can hold around 6,500 cubic meters of LNG fuel. The vessel’s seagoing capability enables Shell to serve customers with LNG fuel in locations throughout Europe.