Asia's first ship-to-containership liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering operation was undertaken in Singapore on Wednesday as vessel owner and operators continue to turn to the cleaner burning fuel to reduce their emissions and Singapore ramps up its efforts to become an LNG bunkering hub.
French shipping company CMA CGM, a large adopter of LNG fuel for its containerships, said its vessel CMA CGM Scandola was fueled with 7,100 cubic meters (m3) of LNG from FueLNG Bellina, Singapore’s first LNG bunkering vessel. The bunkering was performed in cooperation with FueLNG, a joint venture between Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M) and Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd, and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs, Chee Hong Tat, said, “The use of more sustainable fuels is an important element of the decarbonization strategy. As the shipping industry explores alternative zero-carbon fuels, LNG is a viable transitional fuel. As a global bunkering hub, we are pleased to partner CMA CGM, FueLNG, Keppel Offshore & Marine and Shell Eastern Petroleum, to provide more sustainable bunkering solutions for the shipping industry. It also marks another major milestone as Asia’s first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operation with simultaneous cargo operations.”
CMA CGM Scandola is the first of six new 15,000-TEU LNG-powered containerships which CMA CGM Group has lined-up to be bunkered in Singapore this year. These ships will be deployed on CMA CGM’s MEX 1 service between Asia and the Mediterranean.
It is also the first vessel in Asia to conduct simultaneous container loading and discharging operations alongside LNG bunkering operations, shortening port stay time. From Singapore, she will set sail with over 14,800 (twenty-foot equivalent units) containers, comprising household goods, electronic items, machinery and personal protection equipment for the Mediterranean.
This is also the first ship-to-ship operation for FueLNG Bellina. Designed and built by Keppel O&M, the 7,500m3 FueLNG Bellina provides more options for shipowners and operators to bunker LNG in Singapore. FueLNG aims to provide a total of about 30 to 50 ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operations in 2021, extending its track record of over 300 truck-to-ship LNG bunkering operations so far.
LNG is widely viewed among the best and immediately available solutions that can reduce the environmental impact of maritime transport and preserve air quality. It enables a reduction of 99% in sulfur dioxide, 91% in particulate matter emissions and 92% in nitrogen oxide emissions, far surpassing the requirements of current regulations. LNG also provides an initial solution to the challenge of tackling climate change. An LNG-powered vessel emits up to 20% less CO2 than conventional marine fuel-powered systems.
According to Shell’s LNG Outlook report, global LNG bunkering demand is estimated to grow to 30 to 50 million tons per annum (MTPA) by 2040. Presently there are about 400 LNG-fueled vessels in operation or on order, with an expected demand of LNG as marine fuel of nearly 3.5 MTPA.
Stephane Courquin, Chief Executive Officer of CMA CGM Asia Pacific, said, “CMA CGM is committed to the energy transition in the shipping industry. Today, LNG is the most advanced solution when it comes to preserving air quality. This technology is one of the first steps towards achieving CMA CGM Group’s ambitious 2050 objective of carbon neutrality. CMA CGM Scandola is the first of more CMA CGM-operated LNG vessels that will undergo simultaneous cargo and LNG bunkering operations in Singapore. The Group’s fleet of LNG containerships will grow to 32 by the end of 2022.”
Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “The use of LNG as a marine fuel is fast gaining traction worldwide amid a global push to use cleaner shipping fuels. As the world’s top bunkering and transshipment hub port, MPA is pleased that we are able to facilitate Asia’s very first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operation with simultaneous cargo operations. We will continue to work with the industry to promote LNG bunkering in Singapore and drive the transition to more sustainable shipping.”
Chris Ong, Chairman of FueLNG and CEO of Keppel O&M, added, “We are pleased to kickstart ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operations for the FueLNG Bellina in Singapore, which allows us to fuel larger vessels such as containerships. We have a number of ships lined up for FueLNG Bellina’s next bunkering operations, reflecting the strong demand for LNG bunkering in Singapore. LNG is an important part of the clean energy transition and this is in line with Keppel’s Vision 2030 to pursue greener energy developments.”
Tahir Faruqui, Director, FueLNG and Head of Shell Downstream LNG, said, “It’s crucial that the shipping sector employs the cleanest fuels available today and we continue to strengthen our network to supply our customers with cleaner burning fuels. In addition, vessels using LNG as a fuel should be comparatively more robust in addressing the financial impact of any CO2 levy potentially imposed in the future. Singapore is a new addition within our global LNG bunkering network of eight countries and nine ports. We plan to double this bunkering infrastructure on key international trade routes by the mid-2020s so that we can support the sector with the capabilities to tackle emissions with urgency.”