Global miner BHP Group may award contracts worth close to $1bln to companies bidding to build the world’s first fleet of bulk ships fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, the contracts could be awarded in the next three months after reviewing 17 bids from gas producers, shipbuilders and financial institutions.
BHP, the largest charterer of bulk carriers in the world, has revealed it is close to deciding who will win a tender to design and supply LNG-powered ships to transport up to 27 million tonnes of its iron ore exports to Asia.
The report quoted Rashpal Bhatti, maritime vice-president of the Australian miner, saying that the introduction of bulk carriers running off LNG rather than diesel would eliminate NOx (nitrogen oxide) and SOx (sulphur oxide) emissions as well reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 per cent.
According to the report, BHP sent requests for tender to 19 organisations – banks, entrepreneurs, vessel owners, shipyards – and 17 of them came back with very detailed offers two months ago.
Bhatti said BHP was evaluating the detailed submissions before progressing to a "clarification stage" with the companies in January and subsequent negotiations in February.